Digester, Landfill and Biogas Program

Information on the Technical Standards and Safety Authority (TSSA) Digester, Landfill, and Biogas Program.

TSSA approves digester plants, landfill sites and biogas facilities as covered under TSSA Digester, Landfill & Biogas Approval Code TSSA-DLB-2020 (pdf). (A biogas plant is a facility that has a digester which produces gas at locations other than a water pollution control plant.) The TSSA Digester, Landfill & Biogas Approval Code TSSA-DLB-2020 is adopted by reference in Ontario Regulation 212/01 Gaseous Fuels

For digester plants, landfill sites, and biogas plants, this code adopts with amendments CSA/ANSI B149.6:20: Code for digester gas, landfill gas, and biogas generation and utilization. At these sites, TSSA has jurisdiction over all fuel handling systems, including fuel handling appliances, equipment and associated piping. (The environmental aspect is governed by the Ministry of Environment, Conservation, and Parks.)

TSSA does not review, assess or approve the performance of any appliances or equipment, nor the handling of any waste material or the passive ventilation of the gas. TSSA establishes requirements for fuel handling equipment at water pollution control plants, landfill sites and biogas facilities to ensure the safe handling of gas and operation of systems where gas is stored, transmitted or utilized. 

All contractors working on fuel handling equipment at water pollution control plants, landfill sites and biogas facilities must be registered with TSSA and have the necessary certificates (G1 or G2) for the job. Please see Ontario Regulation 215/01: Fuel Industry Certificates and all associated regulations.

For landfill sites, this code applies to the extraction blower and all downstream equipment, appliances and piping used for the storage, handling, transmission or utilization of gas (i.e., the entire positive pressure side of the gas system). This includes landfill flares. This code does not apply to collection systems located within the perimeter of the landfill or aggregating piping upstream of the first blower.

For more information, please contact TSSA’s Customer Service Centre by telephone 1-877-682-8772 or by email customerservices@tssa.org.

TSSA digester, landfill and biogas approvals

TSSA approval is required for new facilities or at existing facilities that have been modified, upgraded or expanded, or for a digester tank that is cleaned and/or repaired. (When a digester tank has been cleaned out a pressure test needs to be conducted according to the B149.6 code. This testing needs to be witnessed by TSSA.)

This requirement has been in place since 2007 for digester plants and landfill sites, and since December 2012 for biogas facilities. Systems installed prior to the effective date that have not been modified, upgraded or expanded do not require TSSA approval.

Under this program, TSSA performs approvals related to gaseous fuels. TSSA does not approve other codes such as electrical, plumbing or building structure.

Applying for TSSA approval 

There are two phases to TSSA approval: Engineering Review and Site Inspection/Testing. 

Once an engineering review is completed, TSSA will issue a design review report indicating the scope of work and the areas which need to be inspected. 

Upon a successful inspection(s), a final inspection report will be issued stating compliance. 

It is strongly advisable to submit your design for review prior to the start of the construction as some inspections are required during the construction phase.

What documentation is required along with an application?

The Application for Approval of Digester Gas, Biogas and Landfill Gas Installations (pdf) must be submitted to TSSA along with the required documentation and a deposit fee as identified on the application form.

One set of documentation must be submitted with the application. Documentation must include:

  • Completed application.
  • Scope of work being conducted.
  • Engineering drawings.
  • List of fuel-burning appliances.
  • Specifications for valves, controls and components. 
  • Bill of materials.

Upon receipt of an application and the deposit fee, a job will be opened, and the submission will be reviewed. If additional information is required, it will be requested from the technical contact as identified on the application form. 

When the engineering review is complete, a Design Review Report will be issued to the owner of the facility and a technical contact.

Applications may be submitted electronically to fssubmissions@tssa.org.

Approval fees

The fees under this program are based on an hourly charge as indicated on the application. Charges are calculated in 15-minute increments. The fees include engineering review, inspection, travel and administration services.

Timelines

Upon receipt of the application and required documentation, the process of initial TSSA review requires 20-30 business days. If subsequent review is necessary, additional time will be required.

Expedited service is available, but the fee charged is two times the standard service rate.

Site inspections

A site inspection is required in one of the following situations:

  • New work, where a new facility has been built, modified, expanded or pressure testing of a digester needs to be conducted. The main purpose of this inspection is to determine compliance with the Design Review Report
  • Facility audit, where a TSSA inspector performs an inspection at an existing site. The inspector will perform the audit in accordance with the current code. If discrepancies are noted, the owner may be eligible to be grandfathered if they can demonstrate the construction was done in accordance with the code of the day.

    Reported incident, where TSSA has received a report of an incident involving gas. The inspector will perform an inspection to determine the root cause of the incident and cite any deficiencies.

Digester gas-, landfill gas-, and biogas-fueled appliances

In Ontario, every digester gas-, landfill gas-, and biogas-fueled appliances that is offered for sale, sold, rented, bought or installed must be approved.

However, there are currently no certification standards available for appliances when operated with digester, landfill or biogas. 

Accordingly, these appliances must receive a field approval from TSSA. Read more about the TSSA’s Field Approval Program.

Variances

Variances to any code will be considered. 

Variances are reviewed by a member of the TSSA Engineering Department before being presented to the Variance Committee.

Apply for a variance (pdf).