Regional district staff explain merits of composting facility choice to directors | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Regional district staff explain merits of composting facility choice to directors

July 13, 2017 - 2:55 PM

PENTICTON - Regional District staff members have made their case for an organics composting facility in the Marron Valley, or alternatively, at the Summerland landfill.

They also explained why there was an urgency to move forward with the project at a recent Regional District Okanagan Similkameen board meeting.

Solid Waste coordinator Cameron Baughen said if the board does not make a site choice for its composting facility, the province may reject the Regional District’s proposal to use biocover, a cheaper but untested methodology in B.C., for natural gas capture at its Campbell Mountain Landfill.

Part of the District’s pitch to the province to use biocover hinges on halting the depositing of compost waste at the landfill, Baughen said, and if there isn't a clear choice of site, it may affect the province’s decision.

Baughen said the District had been actively looking for a composting site for several years, rejecting a composting facility at Campbell Mountain because of a lack of space. A proposed site on Spiller Road next to the landfill would be prohibitively expensive to develop for a composting site.

Regional District staff had pared down the site selection to two possibilities: the Summerland landfill and the Marron Valley site located on locatee land on the Penticton Indian Reserve.

Staff selected the Marron Valley site first overall, noting its positives in having the best access for sales of finished compost, and the cheapest in terms of transportation costs to the site.

The Summerland site would require higher travel distances, but did have some existing infrastructure in the form of a scale, Baughen noted.

A technical report on the Marron Valley’s odour models stated the odour drift would follow geography, not proximity to nearest residences, stating the report was available on line.

Baughen said the District was looking at best practises to build the site, including composting on non-permeable surfaces, in enclosed facilities where piping was located easily visible above ground to allow for daily inspections in order to prevent spills.

He said upgraded odour control would be needed for the Marron Valley site to deal with such issues as cold weather and temperature inversions.

Summerland director Peter Waterman expressed the need for clarity in the proposal calling it “critical.”

Baughen said next steps include a board decision in the next few months in order to give the province a six month window to respond.

A service area would need to be established, followed by a bylaw adoption and lease signing on the locatee land prior to a projected opening of the facility in 2020.

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