Water treatment residuals diverted from landfill now landing in cement



Lafarge Canada Inc. and Metro Vancouver have reached a three-year agreement that will see drinking water treatment residuals from the Seymour Capilano Filtration Plant be used as a material in cement manufacturing, and thus become part of the circular economy.

The residuals are the solids removed during the drinking water filtration process, and consist of materials from the source water (sediments and naturally occurring elements) and treatment chemicals (coagulants and polymers). They contain a chemical profile that mimics that of red shale, a virgin aggregate input required as a raw material in cement manufacturing. The agreement, which follows environmental and industrial trials, would mean fewer virgin materials would be needed to be mined, while residuals would be kept out of the landfill.

LafargeHolcim’s Global 2030 Sustainability Plan calls for increased waste-derived resources to be used in its manufacturing processes. The agreement with Metro Vancouver represents a minimum of 10,000 tonnes per year.

“We are proud to have this partnership with local government and industry,” said Pascal Bouchard, Richmond Cement Plant Manager. “These residuals will soon be part of our city landscape -- reused as an ingredient in concrete that is used in construction from sidewalks to skyscrapers. I am hopeful that the research we have undertaken will allow other municipalities to consider industrial re-use options for their water treatment residuals.”

The Seymour-Capilano Filtration Plant treats water from Metro Vancouver’s Seymour and Capilano water reservoirs, with about 250 truckloads of residuals shipped to the Vancouver Landfill annually. A display will be set up at the plant to educate students and residents about the path it takes for residuals to become cement and eventually concrete.

“We are very excited to be working with Lafarge on this innovative project, which uses residuals as a product, while reducing our overall environmental impact,” said Darrell Mussatto, Chair of Metro Vancouver’s Utilities Committee. “Our goal is to recover valuable resources from our utilities, and this project aligns perfectly with what we are hoping to achieve.”


Metro Vancouver/Lafarge Water Residuals for Cement Project from Metro Vancouver on Vimeo.


Lafarge is Canada's largest provider of diversified construction materials and a member of the global group, LafargeHolcim. With more than 6,000 employees and 350 sites across Canada, its mission is to provide construction solutions that build better cities and communities. The cities where Canadians live, work, and raise their families along with the community’s infrastructure benefit from the solutions provided by Lafarge consisting of aggregates, asphalt and paving, cement, precast concrete, ready-mix concrete and road construction.

Through LafargeHolcim’s 2030 Plan, Lafarge is committed to providing solutions using sustainable manufacturing practices and improving the environment in and around its operations. At locations across Canada, Lafarge has worked to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, restore wetlands for native plants and animals, and identify waste materials that can be recycled and used in our operations. For more information: www.lafarge-na.com



Metro Vancouver and members work together to supply clean, safe drinking water to 2.5 million people in the Lower Mainland. The water system is operated on a not-for-profit basis on behalf of local governments and the regional population. Metro Vancouver is responsible for protecting and managing three watersheds, as well as treating drinking water, distributing it to local governments, monitoring and reporting on the quality of our drinking water and planning for the sustainability of Metro Vancouver’s water system.

Our drinking water is treated in modern, world-class drinking water treatment facilities, and meets or exceeds Health Canada’s standards for quality. Over 30,000 samples of our water are tested every year. For more information on Metro Vancouver’s Water Services Department, please see our website:


For more information about Metro Vancouver’s Drinking Water Treatment Residuals, please contact Nutrifor@metrovancouver.org.