The Federation of Canadian Municipalities provided $175,000 in grant funding through the Green Municipal Fund towards a compost project for the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. (Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen compost project receives recognition

Federation of Canadian Municipalities names regional district for environmental leadership

The Federation of Canadian Municipalities has recently recognized the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen for environmental leadership.

A feasibility study conducted to determine how to manage compost in the regional district has been included in a compendium of 20 exceptional projects in the last 20 years funded by Federation of Canadian Municipalities.

The federation has supported more than 1,360 sustainability projects.

About 40 per cent of materials going into regional district’s landfills, including food waste, could potentially be composted.

A comprehensive feasibility study conducted by the regional district considered the social, economic and environmental factors of composting.

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Different compost technologies were considered and costed out. Innovative odour modelling was developed to compare the risks of placing facilities in various locations. Transportation costs, means of collection, sale of compost and greenhouse gas emissions were also estimated.

The feasibility study showed that one large-scale compost site, located near Penticton, would be a viable solution for the region to deal with commercial food waste, wastewater sludge and urban food waste.

Having one large site allowed for the best odour control while lowering overall costs. The feasibility study also showed that smaller compost sites made sense in rural areas for residential food waste and agricultural organics. The odour from these rural sites was found to be manageable if kept small enough.

The federation provided $175,000 in grant funding through the Green Municipal Fund towards the feasibility study project.

Karla Kozakevich, chair of the regional district, was one of the elected officials who oversaw the development of the feasibility study.

“It is an honour to be recognized as having conducted one of the most outstanding environmental leadership projects in Canada,” she said.

“Siting a compost site has the potential to be controversial. Doing it right from the beginning is incredibly important. Our feasibility study helped inform elected officials and the public of the benefits of moving forward and ways to mitigate potential concerns.”

The municipality of Summerland and the regional district are designing small-scale residential food waste and agricultural compost sites at the Summerland and Oliver landfills.

These facilities will allow for residential food waste collection by 2022 for the Summerland, Oliver and Osoyoos areas.

On Wednesday, Sept. 30, the regional district will host an Organics Composting Facility Electronic Town Hall to discuss whether residents support applying to the Agricultural Land Commission for an Agricultural Land Reserve exclusion for the purpose of a large scale compost site at the Campbell Mountain Landfill near Penticton.

This online event will provide an opportunity to learn more about the proposed composting facility and ask questions. Representatives from the RDOS, City of Penticton and a consulting and engineering firm will be available to answer questions.

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