Thursday, February 17, 2005 Link To Herald The Halifax Herald Limited

Clark Oliver, left, and Gerry Robinson load a hydoclave at Ship to Shore Disposal Service in Dartmouth on Wednesday.

Firm hopes to make cash from biomedical trash

By TOM PETERS / Business Reporter

A Dartmouth firm that specializes in disposal of international garbage has set its sights on using its newly acquired technology to treat and dispose of the province's biomedical waste.

Ship to Shore Disposal Services Inc. of Dartmouth has built a non-chemical steam-sterilization facility to treat international waste from airlines, commercial vessels and cruise ships.

The technology and equipment, for which Ship to Shore has exclusive rights in Atlantic Canada, was designed to treat biomedical waste.

The process, called hydroclaving, sterilizes the waste at temperatures up to 132 C.

CEO Albert Scott said in an interview Tuesday that the process involves putting food waste into a hydroclave with a double-walled chamber through which steam is circulated.

The waste is fragmented inside the chamber and its moisture content heated and turned into steam.

When the waste is dehydrated, reducing its volume by as much as 40 per cent, it is rendered inert and suitable for landfill.

The hydroclave can handle up to 337.5 kilograms per hour. There are no air emissions from the process, and the steam taken from the waste is condensed back to water and discharged into a sanitary system.

Ship to Shore, which uses natural gas in the operation of its facility, has been disposing of international waste from ships for 16 years and until it received the new technology had been incinerating the garbage.

"The unit for hydroclaving international waste is the first of its kind in the world for this type of treatment application," says company president Arthur Scott.

"We have had people contact us from around the world to look at this technology to eliminate incineration in their countries for treatment of international waste."

Albert Scott, the CEO, said that through another firm, Bio-Medical Waste Disposal Services, Inc., the company wants to treat the province's biomedical waste, mainly from hospitals.

The technology, developed in Ontario, is being used for that purpose in several Canadian provinces, in the U.S. and in Europe.

"It is so safe that some hospitals have actually installed it for their own use," he said.

The company has received approvals from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, the Environment Department and Halifax Regional Municipality to treat international waste, "so I don't think it will be much of a problem to get approval for medical waste," the CEO said.

The equipment and process have undergone 37 tests with biological indicators and have met or exceeded all industry standards.

The province's biomedical waste is now shipped to Sydney for incineration, but there has been concern about toxic emissions from the facility.

Nova Scotia hospitals produce about 2,200 tonnes of biomedical waste a year.

Albert Scott said Bio-Medical Waste Disposal is submitting an expression of interest to the Health Department to build a second, larger steam-sterilization facility, with two larger hydroclaves to accept and treat biomedical waste.

The proposed facility would employ 16 people.