Kamloops city council has whittled down a list of options for long-term biosolids management and included land application, a method that has received opposition in the region.
On Tuesday during a committee of the whole meeting, city staff presented council with the top options, based on work completed by a working group of myriad stakeholders.
Recommended options thus far include: windrow composting, liquid fertilizer production, thermal drying for sale as hog fuel, in-vessel composting and high-rate biomass production. Land application was excluded and listed as the sixth-best option.
However, Coun. Arjun Singh suggested the city not yet take it off the table, noting most of the province still uses that method and due to uncertainty with provincial regulations, which are undergoing review and are expected next spring.
“I know that it’s a very, very emotional, very, very difficult issue,” Singh told KTW, noting he would hate to have to put it back on the table at a later date. “I can say I’ve had very horrible blowback on it in the past, but ultimately we have to look at all the options in a really thoughtful way, and I think it’s too early to cut that out.”
Council agreed, voting 8-1 to send the six options to the next steps, including presentations to Tk’emlups te Secwepemc and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and a report to council with an implementation plan slated for fall of 2019.
Coun. Denis Walsh was opposed.
He said he cannot reconcile choosing technologies before understanding the costs.
“How do you make a determination without knowing what the cost will be?” Walsh asked.
Costs are yet to be determined, but city staff have told KTW some of the options could require significant capital investment, with land application being among the cheaper options.
The other options, explained simply:
• windrow composting, which is open-air composting in windrows to create a retail-grade product;
• liquid fertilizer production, which is creating a liquid fertilizer as per the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to be used on food crops;
• thermal drying, which is reducing as much moisture as possible from biosolids by drying to reduce the amount and produce product for fuel;
• vessel composting, which is composting in a closed container. Whistler has a facility like it and it could include curb-side organics, producing a class A compost;
• high-rate biomass production, which is using biosolids to grow trees quickly and using those trees for wood chips or other reasons.
Mayor Ken Christian said high-rate biomass production could work in conjunction with a community forest in efforts to suppress the city’s fire risk.
As for short-term options, the city continues to work on a plan to proceed with hauling via Arrow Transportation its stockpiled biosolids into the Turtle Valley. Residents and First Nations have previously set up blockades to deny access to the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch.
The city is planning to meet with Arrow to discuss next steps after the B.C. Supreme Court ruled against an injunction application by area residents seeking to stop the project.