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Wetland sewage system helps N.L. company with carbon neutral success

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A smart thermostat company in St. John’s hangs a picture of a local wastewater treatment facility on its walls as a reminder of how it became Newfoundland and Labrador’s first company to achieve carbon neutral status.

Newfoundland and Labrador’s Appleton-Glenwood Wastewater Treatment Facility has been recognized as an integral player in generating carbon credits that led to the achievement by St. John’s-based Mysa Smart Thermostats, which purchased the credits.

According to Sharp Management, which sells East Coast carbon credits, the design and implementation of engineered wetlands to treat sewage wastewater in the towns of Stephenville and Appleton-Glenwood has certified 50,000 carbon offsets from emissions of 50,000 tonnes of C02.

Mysa purchased the carbon credits last year, becoming the first Newfoundland company to completely offset its own carbon footprint. Although the carbon neutral achievement occured in 2018, news of the accomplishment only began to circulate more recently when publicized by CBC News.

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“One year ago, we became the first carbon-neutral company from Newfoundland and Labrador,” the company wrote in a statement on Twitter this month. “We didn’t stop there, though. From reducing emissions in our commutes to upping our recycling game, every little bit matters.”

Carbon credits are reductions in greenhouse gas emissions generated by one entity engaged in a reduction project and then sold or traded to another entity interested in mitigating the emissions from its own activities.

Glenwood and Appleton have a system in which reed beds play a major part in disposing of waste. In fact, The Insurance Bureau of Canada and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) bestowed an award on the two towns in 2010 for their joint submission on the Wetland Sewage Treatment System.

The wetland sewage system covers three acres, has an average flow of about one million gallons per day, and serves a population of about 1,800.

According to FCM, both towns had older sewage treatment plants that had become costly to maintain and operate, so they implemented an innovative engineered wetland treatment for their combined sewage and stormwater system. With outfalls into the Gander River, the systems were overloaded and could not meet provincial and federal environmental discharge requirements. The project is the first full-scale municipal application of the Kickuth Engineered wetland technology to operate in Canada.

The technology was developed in Germany and adapted to Canadian conditions by Abydoz Environmental Inc. of Newfoundland and Labrador. Although wetlands have been used in Canada before, this technology fully provides the secondary treatment of wastewater, eliminating the need for other technologies to support the treatment or the need for larger natural wetlands. It also has the benefit of significantly increasing the storage capacity, reducing the risk of sewer backflows.

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