During the Regional District Okanagan-Similkmaeen meeting Thursday other options for a site for a regional compost and biosolids facility besides the Summerland Landfill and the Marron Valley location were brought forward. Here are some of the suggestions and answers from RDOS staff as to why those options are not viable at this time.
Cameron Baughen, solid waste coordinator for the RDOS, noted other sites shortlisted as potential sites had serious problems including Senkulmen Business Park located near Gallagher Lake and owned by the Osoyoos Indian Band Development Corporation.
“A conservative odour model conducted by our consultant showed that this site would impact the highest numbers of homes,” he said.
Also on the shortlist was Campbell Mountain Landfill, but that would require massive blasting, earth moving and road construction to create enough space and even with that work completed, siting the facility there would reduce the life expectancy of the landfill, Baughen said.
Baughen did not provide a number of years or an estimate of how much the upgrades would cost.
Judy Sentes, a Penticton director, pushed for numbers.
“With all do respect you examined it and found it to be cost prohibitive,” she said. “I’m also rethinking the comment made if we don’t do anything we’re for significant financial consequences. If you look at that we’re going to pay at some point somehow, significantly.”
“I’d like to know what those numbers are… maybe the board would not think it was cost prohibitive.”
Tom Siddon, director for Area D, again suggested Brenda Mines in Regional District Central Okanagan be considered.
Baughen explained staff at both regional districts have had many discussions over the last seven years about the Brenda Mines location.
RDOS staff was told Central Okanagan has no plans to remove food waste from their landfills, and previous discussions about putting biosolids from the RDCO at Brenda Mines was met with opposition from the public and the Interior Health Authority. He added, that even if an agreement could be made with the private contractor at Brenda Mines, rezoning would need to be done on the property at the RDCO level and that would most likely fail.
Another suggestion came forward to take an in-depth look at costs associated with the Campbell Mountain Landfill.
To site the compost facility at Campbell Mountain extensive roadwork would need to be done and rock taken away. There would also be loss to the expectancy of years left at the landfill.
Alluding to the odour stigma around compost facilities and public outcry over Marron Valley and Summerland landfill, Michael Brydon said in response to the Campbell Mountain suggest, “I can think of no site that has more houses around it.”
Andrew Jakubeit, Mayor of Penticton, was not in favour of going back and looking at Marron Valley or Summerland and suggested engaging with the Penticton Indian Band to see if there were other sites available that could be used for a regional compost facility.
Baughen said RDOS consulted with the PIB and that’s how the Marron Valley site came about.
Jakubeit said with a new council and chief that the PIB should be approached again to see if there were any other possible suitable sites.
Brydon staunchly disagreed with that suggestion.
“It seems like when we have a problem with our land use we go to the Indian Band and say take our junk, take our prisons. Every site is going to have issues.
Elef Christensen, director for Area G (Hedley, Rural Keremeos) suggested the RDOS look at a piece of property near Hedley that is owned by Area G, B, and Keremeos that was bought years ago to be used as a future landfill.
Christensen said the property was zoned for a landfill but it did not pass environmental testing as it was on bedrock and would allow leachate to go out to the river.
“But you’re talking about building this on a concrete pad, indoors, and there would be no leachate,” he said.
Baughen said that site was studied in high detail but slope stability, the size of the property and archeological concerns were identified that did not make it feasible.
Baughen said over the years the RDOS has hired consultants, looked at private and public lands and even spoken with realtors to site the organics facility. The Summerland landfill and Marron Valley were the two best options they came up with after seven years of study.
“Staff is at a loss on how to proceed with this project at this point,” he said.
After batting around ideas, ultimately directors voted to defer directing staff on how to proceed with siting the organics facility.
As part of the 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan, directors at that time identified removing food and organic waste from landfills as a priority along with upgrading wastewater treatment sludge composting operations.
Food waste going into the landfill increases the methane produced .
The RDOS is currently undertaking a pilot project at the Campbell Mountain Landfill where a biocover is used to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The biocover, if it meets provincial standards, will be used at the landfill instead of a provincially required gas capture system that would burn the methane off.
The RDOS application to the province to use the biocover method is contingent on all organics being banned from the landfill.