A $2.5-million composing facility near Salmo to handle organic waste from Nelson, Castlegar, and Greater Trail is now in business.
A grand opening was held Friday, drawing dignitaries from the participating municipalities and regional districts as well as MLA Brittny Anderson.
“It’s a big deal for us,” Regional District of Central Kootenay resource recovery manager Amy Wilson said. “It’s been in the works since 2016.”
The facility is similar to one that began operating in Creston last year, but a bit larger. Wilson said it works with a passive aeration system where incoming material is placed in an industrial mixer with a one-to-one ratio of yard and garden waste. It’s then moved into windrows with a pipe underneath blowing air, so less turning is involved. The end product is a Class A compost that can be used in agriculture and landscaping.
Only one main operator is required along with some back-up staff, along with people involved in collection and transport. Wilson called it a “low tech, straightforward system” that has been used successfully in other parts of BC as well as Alberta and Yukon.
By Friday’s opening, the facility had about a week’s worth of material collected from Castlegar, which had been turned into a “sizeable” windrow.
In addition to the curbside programs, you’ll eventually also be able to bring organics directly to the facility as well as the transfer station and landfill at Grohman and Ootischenia.
Wilson said the overall goal is to divert material from the landfill.
“The big win is saving our landfill airspace and extending the landfill’s life reduces leachate,” she said. “It’s a substantial benefit for the environment.”
The facility is expected to eventually divert about 4,000 tons of food waste annually, which is the equivalent of just under 7,000 tons of carbon dioxide annually.
The provincial and federal governments provided a grant worth about two-thirds of the project cost. The rest came from the Regional District of Central Kootenay and Columbia Basin Trust.