Composting with CSWM

Regional Organics Facility

The Future of Organics

A key goal set by the Comox Strathcona Solid Waste Management Plan is to increase diversion of food waste from the waste stream. This plan targets a 70 per cent waste diversion rate for the Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) service area by 2022, and the greatest remaining opportunity to meet this target is the diversion of food waste from the waste stream.

Why a Facility is Needed

A composting facility is needed to help manage waste sustainably in our region. Organics, which includes food and yard waste, currently makes up about 30 per cent of the total waste that is landfilled within the CSWM service area. This composting facility provides an opportunity to repurpose organic material into compost for agriculture and landscaping, while saving valuable landfill space. At the same time, the removal of organic material from landfilling will reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by the decomposition of organic material.

Currently, the Town of Comox and the Village of Cumberland have curbside organics collection programs in place, as part of an organics composting pilot program ongoing at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre.

Next Steps

In 2017, Infrastructure Canada provided funding for a number of projects across small B.C. communities including 5.5 million for the CSWM service to implement a regional organics composting facility to service the entire CSWM service area. The remaining 2.77 million of the 8.3 million project will be funded by the service.

Currently, two Campbell River locations are being considered for the facility: Norm Wood Environmental Centre and Block J, adjacent to the current landfill in Campbell River. Staff are currently evaluating both locations, and the CSWM Board will vote this fall on siting of the regional organics facility.

Regardless of the location selected, the CSWM is committed to designing a state-of-the-art facility that minimizes impacts to neighbours and the environment. Our goal is to be a good neighbor. This means not only meeting stringent environmental and community standards, but exceeding them where possible.

Public Consultation

Public consultation will happen soon after a site is selected.  We will be seeking feedback from residents on design and operations. Consultation will also create an opportunity to find out how residents like to receive information related to recycling and composting, which may inform future education campaigns and communications tools.

The CSWM is committed to keeping the community informed about this proposed facility which is expected to be operational by 2021. Watch this page for more information.

Questions or comments?

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

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Important Considerations
Groundwater

At a composting facility, best practice involves clear separation of areas where leachate is generated and areas where stormwater is collected and drained. Stormwater is all water that drains from structures, covered areas, roads (that are kept clean) and site areas that are not used for waste processing or storage.

Water that comes into contact with organic waste at the facility will be collected and reused as part of the composting process. Excess water will be stored in a sealed tank and trucked offsite for treatment. There will be no discharge to the environment during the composting process.

Clean storm water will be collected in an onsite management pond and re-infiltrated into the ground. Water use on site will be managed carefully and will not have an impact on groundwater quality or supplies.

Odour

The BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy (MoE) administers and regulates air quality issues, including odour issues, under the authority of the Environmental Management Act [SBC 2003] (EMA). The Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR) under the EMA, governs production, quality and land application of certain types of organic matter. The EMA and the OMRR are the two primary regulatory documents that govern odour management related to processing organics waste in BC as administered by the MoE.

The successful management of odour is a high priority and a critical component in the design and operations of this facility. To minimize the impact on residents, odours will be managed within our property boundary. The processing of organic waste handling will take place within an enclosed building and air will be treated on site with biofilters. The finished compost would be stored outside and would resemble rich, dark earth.

Trees and Wildlife

A wooded area will be kept around the facility to mitigate visual impacts.

While trees will need to be cleared on the site to accommodate the compost facility, responsible site planning and layout will retain the maximum amount of forest possible for habitat and buffer. The site will be developed during an appropriate nesting window for tree cutting.

All delivery of compost feedstock and active composting will occur indoors to prevent birds from being attracted to the site. The site will be secured to ensure bears do not frequent the area and become a nuisance to nearby properties.

Traffic

Traffic impacts will be limited and a very small increase in traffic to the site. The main access to the site would be from Hwy 28, which will not affect most neighbouring properties on Argonaut Road.

CSWM has been partnering with the Village of Cumberland and the Town of Comox to pilot an organics collection program as part of the region’s commitment to reduce the amount of food in the waste stream.