Regional Organics Composting

Regional Organics Compost Project

A new regional composting facility will be built at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre, enabling curbside organics collection for over 30,000 single-family dwellings in Campbell River, Comox, Cumberland and Courtenay. This household organic material will be transformed into finished compost for agriculture and landscaping.

A What We Heard report summarizing input from extensive consultation in 2020 has guided the design of facility and its operations. The preliminary design is now available for review.


Attend a Webinar

Join our project team for a presentation about the Regional Organics Compost Project, including the design for the organics compost facility and transfer station. Find out how input from the community was used and participate in an online question and answer session.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021, 12 noon – 1 pm. Click here to register

Thursday, March 18, 2021, 5 pm – 6 pm. Click here to register

You must be registered to attend. Click the registration links above to receive your Zoom meeting link.


 

Next Steps

Once the design is finalized, construction will begin, and phased introduction of organics collection will begin over the summer and fall of 2022. The compost facility and transfer station will be fully operational by fall 2022.

The $15.5 million project is funded through $6.4 million in grants and $9.1 million from CSWM reserves.  Operations will be funded through tipping fees. Cost savings can be realized by removing organics from the waste stream which will prolong the life of our regional landfill.

Check this page for more information as this project progresses or visit our online engagement page to ask a question or provide a comment.

Design Overview

The CSWM is committed to designing a state-of-the-art facility that minimizes impacts to our neighbours and the environment. We plan to not only meet stringent environmental and community standards, but also exceed these standards wherever reasonable. 

All composting activities will be completed indoors, minimizing noise and odour. There will be no impacts to groundwater and surrounding habitat. 

The 19 hectare site is zoned for heavy industrial use with specific zoning for composting. In October 2019, the Agricultural Land Commission approved approximately 6 hectares of the site for non-farm use, to be used for the compost facility.

The enclosed processing building and supporting infrastructure will total approximately 47,000 square feet, or just over 2.5 NHL sized ice rinks. This building will be centrally located on a cleared area at the rear of the property, leaving a forested buffer around the site.

Important design considerations for areas of importance identified by the community are listed in the drop down menus below.

Transfer Station

An organic transfer station will be constructed at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre (regional landfill) located in Cumberland. When the Campbell River landfill reaches capacity in late 2021/early 2022, waste will be transferred to the regional landfill in Cumberland.  These trailers will take organics from Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland to the regional compost facility in Campbell River on their return trip, maximizing trucking efficiencies. Approximately one to two truck trailers will be transferred to Campbell River per day.

Groundwater

At a composting facility, best practice involves clear separation of areas where leachate is generated within the compost buildings and areas on the property where stormwater is collected and drained. Stormwater includes all water that drains from structures, covered areas, walkways, roads and the site courtyard areas.

Unprocessed materials will be stored inside and composting will be undertaken exclusively inside buildings on concrete surfaces. Moisture content is carefully controlled as part of the process and water that comes into contact with organic waste at the facility (leachate) will be collected in sealed tanks and reused as part of the composting process. Leachate will not be discharged to the environment during the composting process.

Stormwater will be collected in a lined holding pond where it will be aerated and sediment will be removed. The resulting treated stormwater will be discharged into an unlined pond and re-infiltrated into the ground. Water use onsite will be managed carefully and will not have an impact on groundwater quality or supply.

The facility is a highly regulated site by the British Columba Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (the Ministry). The CSWM service has an extensive annual water monitoring program in place to adhere to the testing protocols laid out by the Ministry to provide an understanding of the groundwater quality. Additional monitoring wells are planned as part of the project. Testing is done quarterly and reported to the Ministry. Groundwater monitoring reports are available at www.cswm.ca/campbellriver.

Odour

The successful management of odour is a critical component in the design and operation of this facility. The receiving and processing of organic waste will take place daily within a fully enclosed building.  Air will be captured through an HVAC system and then treated using biofilter technology, preventing odours from leaving the building.

The finished compost will be stored under a covered area and will look and smell like rich, dark earth.

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (the Ministry) administers and regulates air quality issues, including odour issues, under the authority of the Environmental Management Act (the Act). The Organic Matter Recycling Regulation under the Act governs production, quality and land application of certain types of organic matter. These two regulations govern odour management related to processing organics waste in BC as administered by the Ministry.

 

 

Trees and Wildlife

The facility will be located on a cleared area of land. A wooded area will be kept around the perimeter of the facility to protect natural habitat as a well as mitigate visual impacts.

While some trees will need to be cleared on the site to ensuring safe slopes of the landfill gravel extraction area, careful site planning and layout will retain the maximum amount of forest possible for habitat and buffer. Site development and tree cutting will occur during an appropriate nesting window.

All delivery of compost feedstock and active composting will occur indoors to prevent birds and wildlife from being attracted. Fencing will prevent larger wildlife from accessing the site.

Pest Management

A pest control plan will be an important part of the facility operations. The daily processing of organic material indoors minimizes odours and helps control rodents and pests. Once the material is placed into an active compost pile, temperatures will reach between 50-60 degrees Celsius for several days, an undesirable and inhospitable environment for rodents and pests. Furthermore, the material is moved frequently thereby reducing opportunities for animals to establish a refuge. The entire perimeter of the property will be fenced, preventing larger wildlife from entering the site.

Traffic and Lighting

Traffic impacts will be minimal, as organic waste collection will integrate with the existing waste collection system. The main access to the site would be from Highway 28, which will not affect most neighbouring properties on Argonaut Road.

The current design creates the greatest buffer area possible between the facility and neighbours, protecting sightlines and minimizing light and noise. Exterior lighting will be a lower colour temperature to minimize impact. Lighting will be optimized for operational requirements and to avoid impacts to neighbours.

Carbon Emissions

Greenhouse gas emission reduction will be achieved by:

  1. Removing organic material from the waste stream to reduce the production and release of methane gas in the landfill.
  2. Recycling organic matter into soil restores carbon and eliminates the need for chemical fertilizers.
Noise

The use of back-up alarms will be minimized to reduce noise during operating hours, and equipment with lower noise ratings will be used. Sound attenuating enclosures will also be considered.

Questions or comments?

Tel: 250-334-6016
Toll Free: 1-800-331-6007

Contact us

What We Heard We’d like to thank everyone who participated in our consultation in early 2020. The information collected helped Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) better understand what is important to residents and is being used in the planning of this facility. A What We Heard report summarizes the community input that is being used to inform the facility design and operations. Why a Facility is Needed This project will play a very important role in managing solid waste for our community. Food and yard waste currently makes up about 30 per cent of the total waste that is landfilled within the CSWM service area. Removing organic material from the waste stream will extend the life of our landfills. This will result in a smaller environmental footprint and provide a cost effective approach for handling solid waste for the taxpayers. When buried in a landfill, organic material also produces methane gas, a key contributor to global climate change. Properly composting organic waste is an important step to sustainably manage waste in our region.