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$2M contract awarded for Penticton compost facility design

The Regional District has grant funding that must be used by 2025
The Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen public hearing about rezoning for a proposed organics composting facility near the Campbell Mountain Landfill was held on Nov. 16. (Contributed photo)

A compost facility across from the Campbell Mountain landfill appears to have taken another step forward.

The Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen voted on Dec. 7 to go forward with awarding the contract to design the organics processing centre for 1313 Greyback Mountain Road.

The $1.9 million contract was awarded to AECOM, a Dallas, Texas-based company, who will now have to do the design as well as construction administration on the project.

The contract also includes predesign work for a second phase of a biosolid facility, but that can’t go forward unless the RDOS gets approvals from the Agricultural Land Commission. The ALC has rejected their requests twice already.

The RDOS would need to have the facility up and running by March 2025, in order to make use of $11 million in grant funding.

The project has met with widespread opposition from residents in the area over issues from the existing landfill, traffic, the environment and the possibility of other options.

Those alternative options were brought forward to the RDOS board earlier on Dec. 7. One of the potential out-of-area options that had been looked at informed the RDOS they would no longer be accepting new contracts, leaving just two: Brenda Renewables, operating out of the former Brenda Mines site, and Net Zero Waste, who have a facility in Eastgate.

Brenda Renewables would cost an estimated $140/tonne (plus a five per cent fuel surcharge), while Net Zero Waste was estimated at $90/tonne. Both options would require the construction of a transfer station.

Based on the estimated average total waste production going into Campbell Mountain Landfill, it would cost the RDOS around $4,110,000 annually to go with Brenda Renewables, $2,760,000 to go with Net Zero Waste and $1,240,635 to maintain a facility at Greyback Road.

Breaking out the food and green waste is expected to reduce the costs for the RDOS to process their waste, as well as provide both a longer landfill life and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.

During discussions about the facility and the alternatives of shipping it, Keremeos Mayor and RDOS Director Jason Wiebe brought up issues his own community ran into with not being in full control of the whole waste process.

“Keremeos ran into the issue where we had solids that couldn’t go anywhere. We were taking them to one place remotely, they decided they were no longer taking or their certificate wasn’t renewed, and we could no longer dump there,” said Wiebe. “I can tell you this, there’s nothing like knowing it’s going to back up if you can’t find a spot for it, and you’re in no control as to how to get rid of it.”

Director Riley Gettens had a number of questions, including bringing up her previous request for more detailed impacts on elk and the environment from the facility.

Staff answered by stating the first phase won’t have a significant impact on the odour issues which are caused by the biosolids, all of the grant money can be used just on the compost facility if necessary and there is no traffic increase is expected since the trucks that would go to the facility are going to the landfill already.

Issues with leachate and odour would largely be impacted by a new biosolids facility, or by shipping that waste to an out-of-area third party to deal with.

Director Spencer Coyne asked if a cost estimate for shipping the biosolids could be looked at, but was told that would require input from the City of Penticton who own and operate the existing biosolids facility.

READ MORE: Lengthy debate over proposed Penticton compost facility

Brennan Phillips

About the Author: Brennan Phillips

Brennan was raised in the Okanagan and is thankful every day that he gets to live and work in one of the most beautiful places in Canada.
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