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Beach Triangle Residents Association

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The Beach Triangle Residents Association, Toronto, Ontario

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Incineration Stops at ABTP!

By Chris Blythe

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In last Spring's issue of Triangle Topics, Karen Buck -- long-time Beaches resident and point-person for Citizens for a Safe Environment (CSE) -- provided readers an overview of a long-running community issue: On-site thermal reduction (commonly known as waste incineration) a once-common practice at the Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment Plant. (That huge industrial complex on the Western edge of Ashbridges' Bay, at the foot of Coxwell Avenue.)

While incineration has been discontinued in practice at the ABTP for several years -- thanks to massive and long-running public effort -- incineration remained an allowable option under the facility's provincial guidelines (called a Certificate of Approval). So in 2008, when the incineration option suddenly and unexpectedly reared its head again, Ward 32 Councillor Sandra Bussin redoubled her long-running effort to once-and-for-all put a stop the practice.

In December 2009, Toronto's Public Works and Infrastructure Committee formally recommended that the Certificate of Approval for the incinerators at the plant be immediately relinquished. This, Councillor Bussin explains, means the burning of sewage residue is no longer an option as part of the approved Bisolids Master Plan.

But there is more to be done. The complete removal of the on-site multiple hearth incinerator would better guarantee the end of incineration. And while demolition would likely prove a major undertaking in its own right, the effort promises several benefits. Removal of the large smokestack would certainly be a huge visual improvement. And Toronto's water chief has reportedly let it be known at City Hall that the new-found space created by demolition will come in handy as part of a future capital works project at the facility.

Let's keep up the pressure. Don't let City Hall forget there's no room for incineration at the Ashbridges Bay Sewage Treatment Plant.