Alberta Special Waste Treatment Facility
Next to its pristine beauty and natural recreational opportunities, the town of Swan Hills is perhaps best known as the home of the multi-million dollar, state-of-the-art Swan Hills Treatment Centre.
First built by the provincial Government of Alberta in 1987, the plant underwent an $85 million expansion in 1992, and is now a fully-integrated facility able to treat all forms of hazardous waste as well as their residues. The plant is currently owned by the Government of Alberta and operated by Earth Tech (Canada) Inc.
The plant currently accepts hazardous waste from across Canada, ranging from household waste gathered in community toxic-roundups and chemical laboratory waste from schools to hazardous wastes generated by industrial facilities across the country including Polychlorinated Biphenyl’s (PCB’s). The Swan Hills Treatment Centre is the only treatment and disposal facility in Canada that is licensed to accept high level PCB’s for treatment.
The 320-acre plant, which employs approximately 110 people, destroys hazardous waste in a number of ways. Treatment process includes high temperature incineration (one rotary kiln incinerator with an annual capacity of 35,000 tonnes per year); physical/chemical treatment (for the treatment of inorganic liquids such as acids and bases) and stabilization/solidification (for the stabilization of treatment residues before placement in the Centre’s engineered landfill).
In order to comply with Alberta's strict environmental regulations, the plant not only treats the initial hazardous waste it receives, but also applies the same processes to the residue from these processes. Ash from the incinerators is put through the stabilization/solidification process to remove any remaining toxins. Annual third party testing of the incinerator performance has consistently shown a destruction removal efficiency of 99.99999% which is significantly better than the required regulation.
How does the town feel about having a hazardous waste treatment plant located nearby? As a matter of fact, they feel great – because they asked for it. The key aspect in the development of the facility and it s treatment systems was the support of the town The Alberta government was basically the leader in the site selection process, and they used an innovative approach of requesting volunteer communities. Swan Hills volunteered as a potential host community and a referendum was held in the town, with 79% of the people voting in favor of hosting the Treatment Centre; there’s been an on going positive relationship between the town and the Centre ever since. . There’s an active liaison committee comprised of volunteers from the town's residents and Earth Tech (Canada) Inc. staff meets on a monthly basis to discuss issues.
Not only is the plant a major industry for the town, but because of its state-of-the-art design and processes, it has become a stopping point for many international delegations. Government and industrial leaders from around the world have toured the plant to learn about developing hazardous waste technology in their own country.
Swan Hills Treatment Centre
Mail Bag 1500
Swan Hills, AB
Web Site: www.shtc.ca