No easy fit for compost site

There are significant problems with every other location the RDOS has considered for a regional compost and biosolids facility.

A report going before the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen Board next week offers four flawed proposals for the controversial plant that has already been rejected in Summerland and the Marron Valley.

The RDOS is trying to build a regional compost facility to handle food waste and wastewater treatment sludge currently handled by various landfills across the region which are growing increasingly cramped.

The Oliver landfill could accommodate a smaller compost site similar to what is in operation at the Osoyoos landfill, but the overall footprint of the landfill is likely too small to take a full-size regional facility.

“A large space would be needed to compost and cure materials… any impermeable base would most likely need to be concrete-based due to wear and tear,” the report states. “A structure would be needed to contain odour.”

A regional compost plant would also shorten the life of the landfill and there is no opportunity to purchase adjacent land.

Another option, in the Osoyoos Indian Band’s Senkulmen Business Park would impact the highest number of homes and Highway 97, according to odour mapping.

Penticton’s Campbell Mountain Landfill, option five, is also too small to accommodate a regional plant, or would require massive blasting and earth moving.

Finally, a separate study found that the co-digestion of wastewater and food waste at the Penticton Advanced Wastewater Treatment Plant is not financially feasible — costing around three times what it would cost to dump food waste at Campbell Mountain.

Wastewater treatment sludge from Penticton, Summerland, Keremeos and Okanagan Falls is currently sent to local landfills, with Keremeos’ going to OK Falls.

The report states “given the challenge in identifying a site suitable for a regional compost facility and the need to upgrade existing wastewater treatment sludge sites,” talks have started with communities generating sludge to explore alternative options, including the possibility of a shared site for just sludge.

Food waste could then be dealt with separately, as the RDOS is working to get food waste out of local landfills to reduce methane emissions.

RDOS staff are recommending new feasibility studies into the alternative sites consider breaking up the food waste and wastewater sludge parts of the plan into two separate facilities.

The Board will debate the report on Jan. 4.


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