Funding sought for landfill compost site

Funding sought for landfill compost site

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At this time, the regional district is not looking at the Oliver landfill as a potential organics composting site. Instead, it is turning its attention to Penticton and Okanagan Falls. (File photo)

The regional district is applying for funding to construct a compost site at the Oliver landfill.

The plan is to design a facility capable of processing residential food and yard waste in a manner that protects the environment while avoiding nuisances for neighbouring properties.

Solid Waste Management coordinator Cameron Baughen said the $1.2 million grant will allow for two-thirds funding to solve the existing problem (at the landfill) relating to an increase in agricultural and yard waste from the closure of the adjacent feedlot. (The feedlot is now a vineyard.)

Baughen said the upgrade will allow the collection of residential food waste that is currently in the garbage.

“Communities that have adopted food waste collection have found residents like it. We will also make locally available compost for growers, which is a plus,” Baughen said.

Baughen is asking the Town of Oliver to support the regional district’s grant application.

Area C director Rick Knodel said composting already exists at the landfill in a limited sense, so the preliminary work has already been done to make way for a more comprehensive facility which is needed.

In his report to the board, Baughen explains that the Solid Waste Management Plan calls for the development of sites that can compost curbside food waste, which is estimated to be 40 per cent of all garbage currently being landfilled.

The regional district previously considered developing a turned-windrow compost system at the Oliver landfill, but that plan never got off the ground. Baughen said this type of proposal isn’t seen as controversial as long as odours are controlled. In fact, no public opposition was received during consultation in 2017, he pointed out.

Baughen noted the closure of the cattle feedlot station adjacent to the landfill has resulted in a significant increase in the amount of agricultural waste received at the landfill. In fact, fruit waste in 2018 more than doubled in historical amounts, he pointed out. He added that the feedlot previously took nearly all of the yard waste and wood waste from the landfill.

“Without a compost site at the Oliver landfill, these materials are being stockpiled creating operational issues and fire risk.”

At one point in 2014, the landfill composted fruit, agricultural and yard waste, but changes to regulations and a lack of water made composting more difficult after that. The grant will help pay to get water to the site.

Baughen said the regional district is responsible for kicking in $400,000 for the project, money of which will be expended from the Oliver landfill reserve.

But tipping fees and compost sale revenues will be used to pay back the reserve.

Baughen said that a marketing memo shows that food waste compost is in demand in the South Okanagan. He added that it can be sold at a price to benefit local growers and the landfill.

The coordinator noted that having the regional district and the towns of Oliver and Osoyoos, plus the Osoyoos Indian Band work collaboratively on diverting food waste from landfills has the potential to save money for all parties.

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