Organic Waste Processing Facility

Guelph’s state of the art Organic Waste Processing Facility (OWPF) processes Guelph’s organic waste into clean, nutrient-rich compost. The facility, located at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre, 110 Dunlop Drive, officially opened on September 27, 2011.

Waste Resource Innovation Centre Public Liaison Committee

This committee was formerly known as the Organic Waste Processing Facility Committee. The scope of this committee has grown to now include the review and exchange of information about the operations of all the facilities at the Waste Resource Innovation Centre.

Waste Diversion Education Centre

The new education centre on waste diversion provides visitors with an understanding of how Guelph’s organics, recyclables and garbage are collected and processed, and how to minimize and divert the amount of garbage we create and send to landfill.

Plant capacity

  • Guelph currently generates approximately 10,000 tonnes of organic waste each year.
  • Similar to the capacity of the original composting facility, the Organic Waste Processing Facility is designed to handle 30,000 tonnes of organic material per year to ensure efficiencies of scale (i.e. the minimum capacity in order for the facility to be economically viable) and to allow for future population growth.
  • The amount of organic waste that Guelph generates is expected to grow from approximately 10,000 tonnes to over 16,000 tonnes per year over a 25 year period.
  • To take advantage of its excess plant capacity, the City benefits by receiving organic waste from other municipalities, which reduces operating and capital costs. The Region of Waterloo has entered into a contract with AIM Environmental Group to have organic waste processed at a facility operated by AIM. The Region will pay AIM to process its organics and the City of Guelph receives compensation from AIM for the use of its facility by the Region of Waterloo, reducing costs to Guelph taxpayers.

Environmental leadership

The Organic Waste Processing Facility provides a local, long term solution to managing Guelph’s organic waste with more control over future financial costs and environmental impact.

  • Moving ahead with the Organic Waste Processing Facility provides a local, long term solution to managing Guelph’s organic waste with more control over future financial costs and environmental impact.
  • The Organic Waste Processing Facility uses aerobic, in-vessel composting technology to process organic waste. This technology uses less energy and generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than transporting organic waste long distances for processing, or landfilling organic waste.
  • Processing Guelph’s organic material at the Organic Waste Processing Facility allows the City to divert waste from disposal and is critical in helping the City achieve the waste diversion targets set out in the Solid Waste Management Master Plan (SWMMP). The SWMMP, which was developed by a public steering committee, identified three waste diversion targets: 55% by 2011, 65% by 2016 and 70% by 2021.
  • Guelph residents have indicated strong support for the City to improve its waste diversion rate. In a 2008 survey, 68% of residents said they want the City to exceed the provincial waste diversion goal of 60%. Another 27% said the City should achieve and maintain the provincial waste diversion target. (City of Guelph Waste Management Survey, April 2008, conducted by Oraclepoll Research. The margin of error for the survey is ± 4.9%, 19/20 times)
  • Guelph’s Organic Waste Processing Facility is in line with the City’s objective to produce less waste per capita than any comparable Canadian city.
  • Guelph’s Organic Waste Processing Facility ensures that Guelph’s organic material is processed locally and the capacity for future growth is accommodated.
  • AIM is responsible for marketing the finished compost product.
  • Cities with composting facilities with excess capacity are in a stronger economic and environmental position when organic waste diversion becomes regulated as proposed under the provincial Food and Organic Waste Framework’s Policy Statement. Banning organic waste from landfill is already a reality for municipalities in Nova Scotia.
  • The Ministry of the Environment advocates for regional waste management facilities. The Organic Waste Processing Facility allows the City to process organics from other municipalities, helping to divert more waste from landfill in the province.
  • Composting organic waste does cost more than burying or burning it. But it is the responsible thing to do in order to reduce climate impacts, divert waste from landfill, and create a nutritious soil amendment.

Frequently asked questions

Who’s involved with the Organic Waste Processing Facility?

City of Guelph

  • Owner of the organics facility.

Maple Reinders

  • Facility designer and builder specializing in commercial, water and waste management construction.

AIM Environmental Group

  • Responsible for operating Guelph’s Organic Waste Processing Facility, including processing the organic material, marketing the finished product, and maintaining the facility for an initial five years with two optional five year periods.
  • Currently contracted to operate another similar large-scale composting facility owned by the City of Hamilton.
  • Responsible for all maintenance costs.


  • Supplier of the Organic Waste Processing Facility’s biofiltration odour management system.
  • Guelph company that specializes in odour control and biological air pollution control solutions for both municipal and industrial facilities.

Will the Organic Waste Processing Facility cause off-property odours?

The OWPF design and operations minimizes any potential for off-property odours. The design uses enclosed composting tunnels and working areas, and rapid roll-up truck bay doors and air curtains at the truck entrance doors to prevent the release of odours. The OWPF includes state-of-the-art biofilter technology designed by Biorem for odour treatment. A biofilter uses naturally occurring microbes to degrade odour-causing compounds in the exhaust air, releasing clean air back into the environment. This technology has been successfully used at other locations, including the Region of Peel’s two composting facilities and the Rothsay Moorefield and Rothsay Dundas animal by-product rendering facilities.

Facility operations are conducted to minimize the release of odours and include strategies such as a computer controlled monitoring system that alerts the Operator of any variation in the process conditions. Process conditions (i.e. production levels and airflow) are adjusted based on changes in the biofilter and inlet conditions.

The facility applies the best technology design (e.g., biofiltration, air curtains, enclosed composting process, indoor maturation) and operational practices (i.e., proper equipment maintenance, good housekeeping, staff training) to minimize odour. The City performs timely and comprehensive investigations of any odour occurrences, and implements appropriate actions to ensure that issues are resolved

How will the integrity of Guelph’s groundwater and surface water at the OWPF be maintained?

Measures have been taken to eliminate the potential for surface water and groundwater contamination from the OWPF processes. The composting process is water starved. This means that there will be no net production of water throughout the entire composting process. Any contaminated water collected through the process is re-used.

Additionally, liners have been placed under sensitive areas of the OWPF to collect any contaminated water that may bypass the primary containment.

Monitoring wells have been installed around the facility and monitoring will continue as part of an annual monitoring program, which is reviewed annually by both external and Ministry of the Environment hydrogeologists.

Will the Organic Waste Processing Facility create noise?

Any noise associated with the Facility is minimized through good design and operating practices. All significant stationary noise sources (e.g. pumps) and processing are located inside the receiving, composting and maturation buildings. Truck bay doors are managed to keep noise contained. Where possible, fans are enclosed.

Will dust be generated by the Organic Waste Processing Facility?

Some dust will be generated; however dust control measures are in place. Control measures include:

  • Fully enclosed and sealed tunnels (i.e. composting area isolated from other areas).
  • Screening process (i.e. separation of compost and large residual materials) is controlled using a dust collection system.
  • Screening process is located indoors.
  • Airflow in receiving building is maintained at six air changes per hour.
  • All process air from the building is directed through the biofilter.
  • Best management practices for good housekeeping outside of the buildings.

Will the Organic Waste Processing Facility attract pests?

Good housekeeping practices and processing the organic waste as quickly as possible (i.e. first-in first-out program) helps to ensure pests such as rodents and insects are not attracted to the OWPF. A rodent-resistant “sandwich” wall panel system has also been used to prevent rodents from entering the OWPF.

Will trucks associated with construction and operation of the Organic Waste Processing Facility cause traffic congestion?

Maple and AIM developed work plans that minimize any effects of trucks on traffic during both construction and operations. Increases in truck traffic are less than five per cent of previous levels and the plant’s vehicle traffic remains small compared to other neighbouring operations. All vehicles travel along approved truck routes to access the OWPF.