New Organics Facility

Last updated: January 4, 2024

In December 2020, Regional Council awarded RFP 19-060, which will see the establishment of a new composting facility to replace the two existing composting facilities and support the continued success of the municipal green cart program. Harbour City Renewables (HCR) will design, build, and operate the new facility for 25 years as part of the awarded contract.

The new facility will be located at 37 Evergreen Place,  Goodwood, on the site of the current Ragged Lake Composting Facility (you can see a site plan here). 

There is a Halifax member based Community Liaison Committee (CLC) related to operations of the existing Ragged Lake Composting Facility. 

Rendering of the New Organics Facility

Facility Features

The facility follows a state-of-the-art design, with all composting activities completed indoors in order to minimize impacts to the neighboring communities (e.g., noise, odour) and the environment during its operation. Designed with a capacity to process 60,000 tonnes of organic waste a year, the facility will meet and exceed the NS Environment and Climate Change 2010 Composting Facility Guidelines. 

Some of the modern features for the proposed facility include: 

  • Odour Control – The new facility design incorporates significant measures to mitigate odours, including the use of air locks/double doors. Air from inside the facility is scrubbed through a four-cell biofilter system which discharges air to a single 30 m tall exhaust stack – this means that odours from the facility cannot escape to the surrounding community.

  • Energy Efficiency – The facility design includes LED lighting and will take advantage of the heat generated from the compost process, and rooftop rainwater collection.

  • Water Negative Process – Unlike the existing composting facilities, the new facility will be water negative. This means any leachate produced is recycled through the process and does not have to be treated off-site. Storm water from the site is also collected and reused in the composting process and for fire protection. No process wastewater will be discharged from the facility. 

  • Secondary Containment – The proposed facility has been designed with a secondary containment system under the concrete floors to allow for leak detection and sampling.

  • New Use of By-products – Ammonium sulphate, generated from the odour control system, can be marketed as a fertilizer product for the agriculture industry.

Construction Progress:

Construction of the new facility began in Spring 2021 and is planned to be completed by Summer 2024. Construction progress to-date includes:

  • Development and pavement of site access and perimeter roads (in progress);

  • Establishment of surface water management and erosion control features;

  • Installation of the building foundation, walls and the pre-engineered structure;

  • Installation of architectural and exterior finishes (in progress); and

  • Electrical work, process piping, and installation of equipment (in progress).

Transition from the Existing Composting Facilities to the New Organics Facility

As part of the commissioning process, it is anticipated that haulers accessing the existing facilities (i.e., Ragged Lake Composting Facility and Burnside Composting Facility) may be directed to the new facility as soon as February 2024. Detailed timeline for closure of the existing composting facilities is being developed and will be communicated through future notices by the Municipality.


HRM’s Organics Strategy Development

The existing organics management facilities in HRM are the Ragged Lake Facility located at 61 Evergreen Place in Goodwood; and the Dartmouth Facility located at 80 Gloria McCluskey Avenue in Burnside.

Since 2014, the municipality has been working towards developing a new organics management facility to process residential and commercial organics. As part of the planning steps, the conditions of the two existing composting facilities were assessed, a business case for a new facility was developed, and comprehensive public engagement was completed  (September to December 2016) with the findings incorporated into the siting and requirements fo r the development of a new facility. 

Comprehensive public engagement included:

•    4 public engagement sessions in person, open to the general public, with 72 residents in attendance (total);
•    1,099 online surveys were completed through Shape Your City Community Engagement Hub website;
•    444 comments were provided by the public;
•    17 stakeholder groups were consulted (e.g., Dalhousie University, Restaurant Association of NS, Local Business’s Surrounding Ragged Lake/Goodwood Facility, Clean Foundation).

Site Selection and Zoning for the Facility

In March 2018, Regional Council approved changes to the Regional Municipal Planning Strategy (RMPS), the Halifax Mainland Planning Strategy (MPS), as well as the Land Use By-law (LUB), to enable the replacement and expansion of the municipal composting facility located on Evergreen Place.
As part of the planning review process, public consultation was achieved by:

  • Providing information, and seeking comments, through the municipal website;
  • Mailing notification letters to property owners within 1,500 m of the site;
  • Holding two public information meeting sessions on Thursday, July 20, 2017;
  • Holding a public hearing during the March 27, 2018 meeting of Regional Council, which provided further opportunity.
2021 Public Consultation and ARIA (Archaeological Resource Impact Assessment)

As part of Approval application process in 2021, a new Public Consultation  and ARIA (Archaeological Resource Impact Assessment) was completed for this project. Both documents were reviewed and approved by Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change (NSE).
2021 Public Consultation included:

  • Print ads:
    • Chronicle Herald –
      • July 31, 2021 (circulation 93,178)
      • August 4, 2021(circulation 91,152)
    • Masthead News – August 2021 edition (circulation 30,000 in the Prospect/St Margarets Bay Community)
  • Emails to Key Stakeholders;
  • Social media post via Twitter (+65K followers) and Facebook (via the Brookside Community Homeowners Association).
Environmental monitoring during construction

Nova Scotia Environment and Climate Change (NSE) has reviewed the project plans and issued an Approval for the project in phases, with full construction Approval issued on December 17, 2021. 

Some of the project requirements during the construction phase according to the Approval include:

  • Erosion and sediment control;
  • A surface water monitoring program;
  • A groundwater monitoring program; and
  • Noise control.
Environmental Monitoring during New Facility Operation

The new facility has been designed to minimize environmental impact. The facility is energy efficient (as compared to similar facilities), generally will generate no leachate and will have state of the art odour mitigation measures in place. Environmental monitoring measures will be in place during operation of the new facility. Those will include:

  • Inspections and monitoring of erosion and sedimentation controls;
  • Surface water quality monitoring (storm water pond and surface water sources);
  • Groundwater quality (including well water) monitoring;
  • Wastewater quality monitoring;
  • Secondary containment liner sump monitoring;
  • Compost quality monitoring; and odour emissions monitoring
Impact on Green Cart Program

There will be no disruptions to the green cart program for residents. Organics will continue to be processed at the two existing facilities until the new one is complete.

Community Liaison Committee

There is a Halifax member based Community Liaison Committee (CLC) related to operations of the existing Ragged Lake Composting Facility. The CLC provides a stakeholder forum for mutual distribution, consultation, review and exchange of information regarding the operations and maintenance of the existing Facility, including processing of materials, environmental monitoring, complaint resolutions, and any new environmental approvals or amendments. The composition of the CLC is structured to provide a balance of perspectives, including members from AIM (Operator); the Municipality (Facility and property owner); local property owners; residents;  businesses; and the Councilor for District 11. Updates related to the new facility are also being provided. For more information on the CLC.