Plasco returning trash to city as contract deadline looms

OBJ Staff
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Local clean-tech company Plasco is still only processing a fraction of the waste it promises to handle under a forthcoming deal with the City of Ottawa, a memo circulated to councillors says.

(Stock image)

The city approved a draft contract last year to send 109,500 tonnes of residential solid waste every year to the company. Plasco would then convert that into electricity using a process known as plasma gasification in exchange for about $9.1 million from the city.

However the company returned about half of what the city sent it so far this year, according to the memo.

Dixon Weir, general manager of environmental services with the city, told councillors last week Plasco processed about 7,000 tonnes of waste the city sent to it. He later clarified that to say the city sent 6,780 tonnes, but the company returned 3,200 tonnes of that to the city’s landfill.

A final contract between the two sides has been delayed repeatedly since councillors approved the draft last December. The head of the city committee that’s taken the lead on the negotiations, environment chair Maria McRae, said last month she expects a deal by mid-December of 2012.

Plasco CEO Rod Bryden said last year he needed the city to approve the contract quickly so he could secure private financing for the plant.

Several councillors expressed reservations about the deal at the time, with some saying they needed more time to examine the deal. Others worried because the technology hadn’t yet been proven on a large commercial scale.

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Recent comments

  • Ontarian
    June 26, 2013 - 18:24

    While I am in favor of plasma technology - provided its proven to be cost effective and environmentally safe, the multi decade dubious record of Rod Bryden, beyond structuring complicated deals - usually based on government contracts and subsidies, is mired in controversy, underperformance, cost over runs,delays and questionable results. I think it's about time to bid Bryden godbye and the city take over the project and objectively establish its viability.

    December 25, 2012 - 15:24

    I'm a bit surprised with this contract signature since it is well known from Plasco monthly reports that this technology is not so "green" and not so reliable.. For months they report an exedance with carbon monoxyde and organic matters , and a very poor performance in waste processed / targeted 85 tons a day ! For me this contract signature is more an X'mas gift for Plasco than a reasonable , economical and environnementaly friendly reliable solution ! Rgds, Dany.

  • Rob
    December 04, 2012 - 09:45

    What a joke... McCrae should be fired from the City for incompetance and Mr. Weir should be right behind her out the door for misrepresenting the truth when he indicated Plasco was converting more trash then they actually were. What a crock and what a bunch of incompetent people we have running this City.