Compost facility unveiled

Regional District of North Okanagan opens new area for yard waste at Greater Vernon landfill

Compost has become a serious business.

The Regional District of North Okanagan has unveiled a new regional composting facility for yard waste at the Greater Vernon landfill.

“We are moving forward to clean up the environment and make this a better place,” said Herman Halvorson, RDNO chairperson.

Presently, yard waste is chipped and then spread across the landfill as cover.

But the new system will see ground-up waste formed into rows. Microbes within the material will begin to transform the waste as interior heat increases.

“There will  be active composting over the summer and then it will cure over the winter,” said designer Scott Gamble.

“The size of the piles will reduce. There will be steam off them in the mornings.”

Once the process is completed, the compost will be sold to North Okanagan residents for use in their gardens.

It’s anticipated the first compost will be available for sale in about a year.

The compost facility will divert 19,000 tonnes of Greater Vernon yard waste from the landfill a year, and that could increase if other communities participate.

“Any time we take material out of the landfill and extend the life of the landfill, that’s very important,” said Halvorson.

There are tipping fees for disposing of organic waste except during fee drop-off sessions in the spring and fall.

“We are looking at more free periods throughout the year to give residents more incentive (to compost),” said Nicole Kohnert, RDNO’s engineering services manager.

The $1.15 million needed to develop the facility came from the federal government’s gas tax program.