Sustainable waste management is one of the most critical environmental issues for municipalities in Canada. In light of that fact, the City of Hamilton set an aggressive goal of 65% waste diversion from landfill. Maple Reinders, along with key Canadian and European project partners, undertook a benchmark Design/Build/Operate project to implement a new centralized compost facility as part of the City’s ambitious waste management plan.
The state-of-the-art in-vessel aerobic composting facility is capable of processing 60,000 metric tonnes of organic waste per year. The 115,000 SF facility was the first in Canada to utilize European tunnel technology, and includes an administration building, weigh station, receiving area, process equipment, overhead tunnel filling system and 16 concrete composting tunnels with aerated grid floors, curing storage area, and biofilter. The tunnel composting process proposed for the Hamilton project required the construction of 900 m of 6.5 m high concrete walls and 4,000 m2 of suspended ceilings, using precast concrete in lieu of cast-in-place concrete. This method resulted in schedule enhancements and mitigated contraction and expansion issues.
The benefits of in-tunnel composting include:
Compact facility with all operations under one roof
Organic waste volume reduction by 40-50%
Odour issues eliminated with sealed tunnels
Quick compost time produces marketable product within 10 weeks
Elimination of weather variables (even in cold winter months)