After delving deeper into regulations related to the operation of Castlegar’s yard waste compost facility, city council has changed their minds about how the facility will operate going forward.
As part of the new curbside organics collection program rolling out this summer, council had deliberated closing the compost facility entirely. But mainly due to public input, they decided to keep the facility operating status quo at the committee of the whole meeting held on June 19.
Councillors reported hearing that residents wanted to keep the facility open, in spite of the $125,000 annual cost and the fact that residents will be able to put yard waste in the new organics bins.
At that meeting council asked staff to further investigate operational requirements at the site including odour and fire risk management.
On June 27, council met again with final approval of the plan on the agenda, but the city’s municipal services manager Chris Hallam shared information that resulted in council deciding that they would no longer compost material at the site. The material will have to be trucked to a landfill or a different compost facility going forward.
Hallam said a 2022 regulation update requires that the city make some changes and improvements due to the volume of materials processed at the site.
The city would be required to hire an expert to complete a facility and environmental plan for the site that would include an operating plan, leachate management plan and odour management plan. (Leachate is contaminated liquid that is generated from water percolating through a solid waste disposal site.)
The plan would have to be followed and regular inspections and updates would be required.
“There would likely be a capital investment required to keep the site open and allow us to continue composting the material on the site,” said Hallam.
He said that would likely include installing asphalt, site drainage and containment infrastructure.
Transporting the materials off site would not require any of the above improvements.
Concilor Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff voted against the change, as she thinks the facility should close completely once residents have the option of putting their yard waste in the new curbside organics collection carts.
Council will revisit keeping the yard waste compost facility open one year after the new organics collection program begins.