by Timothy Schafer Local Journalism Initiative Reporter on Sunday June 19 2022
Although the first phase of the regional district organic waste diversion strategy has launched it will be later this year before a limited version settles in to serve the Heritage city.
The Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) will open its first composting facility this week, completing the construction of a new facility in the Creston landfill to handle the collection of curbside organics in the town of Creston.
The RDCK is still developing a similar program for Nelson to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
“(T)he RDCK is working with the City of Nelson to obtain diversion of organics from their municipal waste stream resulting in equivalent GHG reductions,” said RDCK communications coordinator Dan Elliott in a press release.
However, Nelson will be receiving an upgrade to its Grohman Narrows transfer area — as will the Ootischenia landfill — to accept organic waste. Grohman Narrows may be operational by the early fall and will offer services to commercial haulers, allowing businesses and residents to drop off organics at a reduced fee (compared to garbage).
Almost half the organic waste currently being put in B.C. landfills is generated by the commercial sector. The RDCK is working to convince local commercial haulers, institutions and businesses to have organics diverted into the processing facilities.
There is a central composting facility being constructed near Salmo — work began in May — and is expected to be online by October. But this facility will not be accepting organics from Nelson, instead obtaining material from Castlegar, commercial sources and the greater Trail areas of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary.
This year the next phase of organics diversion could see the beginning of development of rural curbside collection.
Reducing the load
Residential organic waste makes up approximately 35 per cent of material sent to landfills in B.C., Elliott noted.
“In the quest for zero waste, the RDCK’s new program will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save landfill capacity and reduce leachate impacts,” he wrote. “Leachate is the contaminated liquid running through a solid waste disposal site and it is difficult and expensive to manage.”
The Creston and eventually Salmo composting facility programs are expected to divert over 2,000 tonnes of organic waste from entering the landfills.
The composting facility’s will feature basic forced aeration composting technology.
The process begins in large mixing buildings. Where food waste will be combined with clean wood and yard and garden waste in a specialized mixing unit to maintain a proper nutrient ratio.
Eventually the mixture will be moved to aerated windrows — linear piles of organic waste — where fans connected to perforated pipes located underneath these piles promotes active decomposition, limits odour generation and prevents the piles from producing methane through anaerobic (low-oxygen) decomposition.
The process will take 12 weeks to produce finished compost.