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Looking for a crappy solution

The Regional District of Central Okanagan is looking for a place to dump solid waste from its Regional Westside Wastewater Treatment Plant.

In the meantime, the biosolids are being trucked to the City of Clinton at a cost to the taxpayer of $300,000 in 2014.

The additional cost is being shared by taxpayers in West Kelowna, Westbank First Nation and Peachland.

According to RDCO Communications Officer, Bruce Smith, five truck loads of biosolids are being trucked from the westside to Clinton each week.

The solid waste will continue to be trucked until a solution can be found closer to home.

Prior to its closure in 2010, biosolids were buried at the Westside Landfill.

For a brief time solid waste was then buried at the Glenmore Landfill and, after that agreement expired, waste was used to recapture two decommissioned gravel pits on the westside.

All the while a permanent solution was sought.

"We thought we had a land application with Westbank First Nation and they decided they weren't going to support any biosolids land application in their community forest," says Smith.

"We began looking for another alternative and Brenda Mines reclamation came up."

Smith says while that site looked promising Peachland put in a number of stipulations, one of those being approval from Interior Health.

"Interior Health came back and said based on the potential for a heavy rain event and the materials getting into Trepanier Creek, you shouldn't go ahead," says Smith.

"All the while we were stockpiling material and said, okay, Plan B is to go to Clinton. Now, Plan C we closed last Friday was a Request for Expressions of Interest (REOI) from anyone who had ideas on how to manage the biosolids on a long term basis."

The regional district is in the process of reviewing the REOI's before moving forward with recommendations.

"This is an example of a lack of planning and now we are faced with a really big hit that we have to explain to the users," RDCO Director Doug Findlater stated at a recent board meting.

"All along I have said this will not work in the long term."

One possible solution is an intergovernmental one involving West Kelowna, WFN and Peachland as well as Penticton, Kelowna and Sun Rype which is apparently also having problems managing their biosolids.

Smith says the RDCO will also look at best practices in other jurisdictions - one of those the Regional District of Nanaimo.

Since 1999, RDN biosolids have been beneficially used in agriculture, landfill closures, mine reclamation and forestry.

It says RDN biosolids have been beneficially used in Vancouver Island University's (VIU) Forest Fertilization Program since 2007.

 

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