Restoring degraded lands with biosolids has a long history of success, but SYLVIS has a new take on mine reclamation with the launch of their BIOSALIX project in partnership with the City of Edmonton.

What does the project entail?

The BIOSALIX project will utilize biosolids from the City of Edmonton to transform the landscape surrounding an Alberta coal mine into a thriving crop of willow trees (genus Salix for those plant nerds out there).

Through a collaborative team led by SYLVIS Environmental Services, the BIOSALIX project sets out to address two unique challenges in Alberta: the accelerated closure of prairie coal mines with its associated challenges, and an increased demand for management of organic residuals. We all know that degraded soil and biosolids are a great match, so you can guess how this problem will be solved! The biosolids will be used to reclaim the mine so the land can grow willow trees, which are a fast growing crop with many marketable uses. The willow trees can be used as a feedstock for additional soil amendment and reclamation, and as a biomass energy source. Because the project will use biosolids to reclaim degraded land, it will result in significant sequestration of carbon in both soils and woody biomass, mitigating climate change. 

Hitting the ground

Project partners at the BIOSALIX site

biosalix project site

Collaborative project garners national support

Project partners EPCOR Water Services will supply the municipal biosolids and Westmoreland Mining will provide the reclamation landbase, project support, and a segment of the workforce. The willow plantation will be established by Bionera Resources and the Canadian Forest Services will provide biomass and soil carbon research. This project is a great example of how biosolids partnerships can have benefits beyond just the environment and soil health by creating opportunities in communities impacted by job losses and mine closures. 

The project is part of Natural Resource Canada’s Clean Growth Program, and is funded by Natural Resource CanadaAlberta Innovates and Emissions Reduction Alberta. For more information on the project, please check out the full story here

Partnering for land restoration

The Honourable Amarjeet Sohi, Canada’s Minister of Natural Resources, today announced funding to support the BIOSALIX project through Natural Resource Canada’s Clean Growth Program. It is a competitive federal funding program that provides an opportunity to advance emerging clean technologies that are currently in the research and development and demonstration phase within Canada’s energy, mining, and forestry sectors. These sectors will be able to benefit from these technologies to reduced impacts on air, land, and water while also promoting job creation.

BIOSALIX project partnership