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Classified in: Environment, Business

The Governments of Canada and Quebec invest more than $65 million to expand the SEMECS biomethanization facilities in Varennes

VARENNES, QC, May 16, 2022 /CNW/ - The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities, along with Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region, are pleased to announce joint funding to expand the biomethanization facilities owned by the Société d'économie mixte de l'est de la couronne sud (SEMECS). These facilities are located in the Varennes Novoparc industrial park in Montérégie.

This nearly $100 million project will receive a maximum joint government investment of $65,178,887. The Government of Canada is contributing up to $25,200,000 from the Green Infrastructure stream of the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program (ICIP) for the expansion of the treatment plant. Quebec is contributing $39,978,887 from the Programme de traitement des matières organiques par biométhanisation et compostage (PTMOBC). Quebec's contribution includes a maximum of $36,992,768 for the expansion of the treatment plant and $2,986,119 for the purchase of organic matter collection bins.

The work, which began on a preliminary basis in the summer of 2020, will increase the biomethanization treatment capacity of the existing SEMECS facilities. This expansion project follows a 20-year agreement with SEMECS, renewable once, for the treatment of residual organic materials from municipal and industrial, commercial and institutional (ICI) sources from the agglomeration of Longueuil. This includes the City of Longueuil and the municipalities of Boucherville, Brossard, Saint-Bruno-de-Montarville and
Saint-Lambert. In addition, there will be greater demand from the ICI sector in SEMECS' member MRCs (Vallée-du-Richelieu, Marguerite-D'Youville and Rouville), along with other ICI sources from the agglomeration of Montreal, which will be treated at the enhanced SEMECS facilities. The new part of the plant is expected to be operational by 2023.

The work includes:

At the end of the fifth year of operation, the expansion of the current facilities will make it possible to process an additional 85,000 tonnes of organic matter per year, from some 220,000 dwellings occupied by nearly 455,000 residents. This will bring the total capacity of the SEMECS facilities to 120,000 tonnes per year.

In addition, the expansion of the existing facility will result in additional greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions of 13,404 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year. This is the equivalent of taking approximately 3,850 cars off the road. The expansion project will therefore contribute to improving the carbon footprint of Quebec, where the waste sector is the fifth largest source of GHGs, according to the most recent data.

Today's announcement was made in the presence of Suzanne Dansereau, the Member of National Assembly  for Verchères, Martin Damphousse, Mayor of Varennes, President of SEMECS and First Vice-President of the Union des municipalités du Québec, Catherine Fournier, Mayor of Longueuil, Sylvain Berthiaume, Director General and Secretary-Treasurer of the Marguerite-D'Youville MRC, and Director General of SEMECS, as well as other relevant elected officials.


"Our government recognizes the urgent need to take action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and address climate change. The project we are announcing today is a step in that direction. Through this project, the surrounding municipalities will be able to reduce a greater quantity of organic matter in a more efficient and healthier way. This supports both the green economy and sustainable development. Bravo to all the partners who continue to work together on such an important project for our environment and our future."

The Honourable Steven Guilbeault, Minister of Environment and Climate Change, on behalf of
Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities

"Quebec still generates significant quantities of organic matter. This is why the Stratégie de valorisation de la matière organique [Quebec's organic matter recovery strategy] aims to recover at least 70% of these materials by 2030. The first step in achieving this goal is most certainly the implementation of the necessary treatment infrastructure. With the expansion of its biomethanization facility in Varennes, supported by the Government of Quebec, SEMECS will be able to continue transforming the economic and environmental burden of organic matter management into a great opportunity to participate in the growth of the green economy. I congratulate the managers of SEMECS and all the elected officials who support it!"

Benoit Charette, Minister of the Environment and the Fight Against Climate Change, Minister Responsible for the Fight Against Racism, and Minister Responsible for the Laval Region

"With this beautiful green infrastructure, SEMECS has succeeded in diverting tonnes of organic matter from its member municipalities from landfill by transforming it into biogas. It has been so successful that other municipalities wanted to use its services, and we are here today to celebrate the expansion of the site, which will further reduce the region's greenhouse gas emissions, produce more organic soil amendments and provide biomethane and even more biogas. The plant will hopefully be able to receive even more organic waste next year. This is great news!" 

Suzanne Dansereau, Member of National Assembly for Verchères

"Following the unprecedented success of the first phase of this major project, we are fortunate and honored to welcome the Longueuil agglomeration after the completion of the second phase of the work, which will be completed by 2023. I would like to thank our government partners without whom this project would not have been possible. We believe that SÉMECS will play a significant role in the fight against climate change and will undoubtedly inspire other similar initiatives in the near future."

Martin Damphousse, Mayor of Varennes, President of SEMECS, and First Vice-President of the Union des municipalités du Québec

"This financial assistance now allows us to take another step towards an ecological and sustainable transition of our cities. Increasing the processing capacity of the SÉMECS biomethanization plant will divert tens of thousands of tons of organic matter from landfill while reducing our carbon footprint. I would like to thank the federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Mr. Steven Guilbeault, as well as the Quebec Minister of the Environment, Mr. Benoit Charrette for this important investment."

Catherine Fournier, Mayor of the City of Longueuil





Associated links

Federal investment in Quebec infrastructure projects: https://www.infrastructure.gc.ca/investments-2002-investissements/qc-eng.html  

More information about the various biomethanization and composting projects supported by the Government of Quebec: www.environnement.gouv.qc.ca/programmes/biomethanisation/liste-projets.htm 

SEMECS website: www.semecs.ca

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Website: Infrastructure Canada


SOURCE Infrastructure Canada

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