RDOS eying property near Penticton landfill for new organics and biosolids composting facility

Compost location found?

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen is eying a parcel of land near the Campbell Mountain Landfill for a new organics and biosolids waste composting facility. 

The board will meet Thursday to discuss the purchase of an unidentified ALR property next to the dump. The location has been selected after a review of Campbell Mountain and the OK Falls landfills, the latest part of a multi-year, sometimes-controversial search for location for a regional composting facility. 

The RDOS has been struggling since 2017 to find a place to process biosolids from the Penticton Wastewater Treatment Plant as well as food and yard waste. The current outdoor facility at Campbell Mountain is not-compliant with regulations and has drawn complaints from neighbours. 

An RDOS report says a new grant program has been identified that could fund up to 83 per cent of the expected $17.2-million price tag for the facility, which would utilize “in-vessel” composting to minimize odours. 

“A recent business case comparing a currently designated site at Campbell Mountain and the proposed site has determined a potential advantage of $1.7 million to purchase the new site rather than build on the Campbell Mountain Landfill site due to geotechnical considerations,” the report says.

The movement of the composting site off the current property will also free up between $11 million and $16 million worth of landfill space.

“The proposed land purchase will buy lands that are currently impacted due to nuisance, thus eliminating a source of complaint and liability,” the report continues. 

Should the grant application be successful, the RDOS would be required to contribute just $2.9 million to construction, plus the cost of land.

Studies have found that up to 26 per cent of the total waste stream could be diverted from the landfill should a regional composting facility be built and a curb side food collection program be rolled out.

The RDOS has been trying to find a location for such a facility for years. It initially selected a property in Marron Valley in 2017, but reversed course after outcry from neighbours and the local MLA. The District of Summerland also refused to host the facility at its own landfill later that year. 

The RDOS board will discuss the actual purchase of the property in a closed session Thursday morning, but later in the afternoon will debate applying for the required grants and required ALR exclusion during an open session.

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