UPDATE: Wednesday, March 8
The City of Penticton has provided a statement, noting that all compost that is given away "has been tested and is safe for use," and "Any compost samples that don’t meet the requirements are removed and re-composted or disposed of."
"We are actively working with the RDOS on a future food waste and biosolids compost facility, which would eliminate the need for this existing facility and modernize processes," reads an emailed statement from Shane Mills, the city's senior communications advisor.
"Penticton’s compost is a safe product that’s ideal for use in top dressing lawns, landscaping or on flower gardens. Penticton compost consists of processed wastewater solids, which is mixed with some yard waste and woodchips."
ORIGINAL: Tuesday, March 7
A Ministry of Environment investigation has found that Penticton’s waste facility adjacent to Campbell Mountain Landfill failed to qualify their material as compost in 2022, instead producing material with too-high waste content.
According to the BC government’s Natural Resources Compliance and Enforcement database, the composting operation received an out-of-compliance advisory following an inspection in October 2022.
A Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy Environmental protection officer conducted a planned on-site inspection on Oct. 12, 2022, of the City of Penticton's composting facility adjacent to Campbell Mountain landfill.
A resulting warning letter to the facility, dated Nov. 16, 2022, and which includes results from the inspection, outlines the need to fix multiple aspects of the compost facility.
The ministry found that “the material produced during the inspection period is considered a waste and not Class A compost. By distributing the material to the public, the authorization holder has allowed waste, produced by a prescribed activity, to be introduced into the environment.”
According to the report, during the on-site inspection, the compost operator informed ministry staff that the feedstocks for the compost included biosolids, brewery waste/winery waste and yard waste.
Further, the ministry report said that in an email dated Oct. 26, 2022, the sustainability supervisor provided Ministry staff with the 2022 compost temperature records. However, in an email dated Nov. 14, 2022, the roads and drainage supervisor informed ministry staff there were no records available for 2021 due to a computer error. Therefore, compliance with this requirement was not determined during the Inspection period.
“The 2021 and 2022 certificates of analysis confirm that the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio requirement had not been maintained during the Inspection period. Therefore, the authorization holder is out of compliance with this requirement during the Inspection period.”
According to the analysis in the report, the fecal coliform limit of 1000 MPN per gram of Class A compost had been exceeded on multiple tests, with two samples registering at higher than 100,000 MPN in 2021, and three samples in 2022 ranging from 17,000 to 21,000 MPN.
No fine or penalty was attached to the advisory the landfill received.