Composting facility planned for Sun Peaks

Sun Peaks Utilities (SPUCL) is hosting an informational meeting regarding a planned composting facility in Sun Peaks. The meeting will be held on April 2 from 3 to 4 p.m. in the Nancy Greene’s Cahilty Lodge Meeting Room.

The estimated cost of building the facility is still being finalized and will be announced at the public meeting.

“It is going to potentially impact rates,” said Pat Miller, SPUCL’s manager of utility services.

Biosolids, or sewage sludge, from Sun Peaks were previously trucked to Kamloops. Biosolids are organic material obtained as a byproduct of wastewater treatment. As the community continues to grow, this becomes less cost effective and a less viable environmental option, said Miller.

The proposed solution is to install an on-site composting facility that will use the biosolids to produce Class A compost. A designation of Class A means that all of the pathogens have been destroyed during treatment. Miller said the end product is a fertilizer that’s safe for people and the environment.

“By composting, we have the ability to deal with the whole wastewater management cycle—from collecting the initial wastewater, treating it, dewatering the biosolids and reusing it as compost.”

“It can be used anywhere. There are no pathogens in it,” she explained. Sun Peaks is lucky, she said, because there are no industries within the community that put chemicals, such as mercury, in the system that could potentially be harmful to people.

SPUCL plans to use insulated modular containers from Green Mountain Technologies for the composting process. Called CompTainers, the airtight, stainless steel vessels were selected because the technology behind it will allow SPUCL to control the odour and temperature during composting.

“One of the sites that we visited had no odour issues at all and they’re right on the sea and right in the middle of town,” said Miller. “The site we’re looking at (in Sun Peaks) is right at the entrance to the resort, so the last thing we want to do is to have odour issues.”

Temperature control is important because it allows the facility to operate in the winter, the busiest time of the year in the resort community.

The modular design minimizes the space required for the facility. The containers are enclosed and include patented aeration floors that collect and store liquids so these don’t leach into the environment.

Once approved, SPUCL plans to meet with the Ministry of Environment on-site and secure financing for the project to minimize cost prior to building the facility. Miller hopes to have it fully operational by fall.

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