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Campbell Mountain compost operation approaching threshold

The project could cost between $8.2 to $11.1 million
Penticton’s composting facility at the Campbell Mountain landfill is aging, and the city is considering constructing a new one, following a presentation at the Aug. 20 council meeting. Photo courtesy City of Penticton

As the City of Penticton continues to grow in population, how the city treats its wastewater solids needs to be adapted to meet new regulations and address the issues with the aging compost facility.

Council heard from David Lycon, project manager and senior process engineer with AECON, last week about the viable solutions to address the city’s growing waste solid productions as well as the aging compost operation at Campbell Mountain Landfill. The city also wanted to ensure it is prepared for the upcoming changes to the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation of B.C (OMRR).

“The compost operation up at Campbell Mountain is an old facility, it’s beginning to show its age. This is the whole driver behind trying to develop a solution that can develop a sustainable product and be able to replace the existing facility as it stands,” said Lycon. “So we initially looked at all technology options and we wanted to go through a screening process to look at them and widdle them own until we arrived at a singular, or at least no more than three options that we could develop costs and whatnot for.”

READ MORE: City taking a new look at compost

This meant considering 23 different technologies and evaluating whether they would meet the city’s needs and were feasible with the city’s budget. According to the report submitted to the city by AECON, eight of the 23 options were identified for a more detailed evalutation which included city and stakeholder input. While this process narrowed down three technologies that were viable, the report states they are “significantly beyond the planned capital budget for this project.”

“It was this aspect that led to the re-examination of a new biosolids composting facility. Given the upcoming changes in OMRR, composting facilities will be able to accept raw, dewatered wastewater solids as a feedstock, thus allowing the city to maintain its current practice of trucking dewatered raw solids from the plant,” states the report’s conclusion and recommendations. “The proposed engineered, enclosed composting system would be capable of reliably producing a Class A biosolids product asdefined in the regulation, while mitigating issues that have plagued the current operation over the years (primarily odours).”

The proposed facility would contain enclosed compost tunnels as well as an odour control system, which would prevent odours from entering the surrounding community. The report does warn that the odours associated with hauling the raw dewatered solids could only be adequately addressed by undertaking mesophilic anaerobic digestion of the fermented primary sludge, which would mean an added capital cost for the city to consider. The cost of building the facility would be roughly $8.2 million, while the cost to include the digestion process would bring the project cost to $11.1 million.

Another problem is the fact that it is difficult to find facilities that will take the compost produced by the facility, but the report states this will be a challenge regardless of the solids management option the city selects. Len Robson, manager of public works with the city, said the RDOS is looking into constructing a regional compost facility, but “it’s too early to tell what’s going on with that.” Robson added he will be requesting funding in the upcoming 2020 budget deliberations for the design of this proposed facility, but only after further conversations with the RDOS.

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Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
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