Niagara Falls to Turn Poop to Power
By Alison Langley for The St. Catherine's Standard
Niagara Falls is leading the pack in dog-waste management. The city is the first in the region to offer green dog-waste systems at both public dog parks. The city recently invested in a Sutera Dog Waste Containment System that not only will keep city dog parks cleaner, but will eventually convert dog waste into a clean and renewable energy source. The in-ground containment systems were installed at both the Firemen's Park dog park and the soon-to-be-opened Chippawa Parkway location in early June at a cost of $5,955.
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Geoff Holman, director of municipal works, said pet waste is "one of the most challenging issues every park system and municipality faces." "Regular garbage bins would have to be emptied daily to prevent odour and pest problems," he said. "We're trying a new system at both of our dog parks to make them cleaner, safer, and more attractive." The new system stores dog waste in underground chambers, where it stays cool and out of sight. This prevents bad odours from taking over the park and attracting pests. The precast concrete chambers can store more than 540 litres of material and the design prevents large items from being deposited and discourages illegal dumping.
To promote use of the new system, the garbage bins originally placed within the off-leash dog areas will be removed, but remain nearby to collect regular trash. Park visitors are encouraged to use biodegradable pet waste bags so the waste material can be disposed of as organic matter.
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For now, the material will be treated as compost waste, as transporting it to a biosphere facility would not be cost effective. Once a waste-management biosphere is built closer to Niagara, explained Niagara Falls Mayor Jim Diodati, the collected material will be diverted from the local landfill and converted to fertilizer and bio gas, a clean and renewable energy source. "The long-term vision is it will be converted to fertilizer or fuel," he said. Meanwhile, the city's second dog park is set to open this summer.