Ontario to allow more materials through on-farm biodigesters

The Ontario government has announced changes to biogas rules in an effort to expand the biogas and renewable natural gas market in the province.

The regulation changes will enable new on-farm biogas systems and expansion of existing systems to be approved more easily and at a lower cost, to help ensure that Ontario continues to be a biogas sector leader in Canada, the province says.

“By reducing regulatory burden for on-farm anaerobic digesters, we can provide economic solutions to divert more valuable food and organic waste from landfills, while maintaining environmental protections by encouraging the recycling of nutrients and reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” says Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. “We’re saving farm businesses time and money to allow them to grow untapped economic opportunities and take advantage of the emerging renewable natural gas market.”

A spokesperson for OMAFRA says that farmers identified the need for a greater quantity and variety of feedstock to make renewable natural gas production effective, efficient, and economical.

These changes to regulations under the Nutrient Management Act will create more opportunities for farmers to treat on-farm materials as well as other types of off-farm food and organic waste materials in on-farm regulated mixed anaerobic digestion facilities, including pre-processed source separated organics (SSOs) such as kitchen food scraps and garden clippings into the on-farm anaerobic digesters, the province says.

The move is designed to create conditions to expand on-farm production of biogas, creating a new source of farm income. The move will also increase the capacity in the province to recycle organic materials, such as green bin waste, and reduce greenhouse gases.

The changes announced also include a pledge to maintain environmental protections through additional requirements for odour control, material handling prior to land application, digester tank design and setbacks.

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