New Composting Facility Planned on Vancouver Island

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As reported in the Campbell River Mirror, Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) is considering two properties as potential locations for an organics composting facility. The project picks up on work started by the City of Campbell River, British Columbia, which had applied for a grant that was unsuccessful back in 2015.

The Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) service is a function of the Comox Valley Regional District, a community of 66,500 people located within an area of 1,725 square kilometres on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The CSWM service manages over 100,000 tonnes of waste and recycled material annually and oversees a number of diversion and education programs for the CVRD and the Strathcona Regional District (SRD). 

CSWM uses three service providers for private curbside garbage and recycling pickup services:  Emterra Group, Progressive Waste Solutions, and SunCoast Waste Services.

The Comox Strathcona Solid Waste Management 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.

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.

CSWM Leaf and Yard Waste Composting Operations

CSWM adopted the organics composting project from the City of Campbell River and received an Infrastructure Canada grant in 2017 for a regional site. That year, Infrastructure Canada announced funding of $5.5 million for the facility, with the remaining $2.77 million of the then-$8.3 million project to be funded locally. A recent consultant’s report estimated the costs now would likely be just over $12 million because additional tonnage capacity proposed for the facility and increasing construction costs.

Part of the rationale for siting the operation in Campbell River is to take advantage of “back-haul” opportunities, by filling trucks from Campbell River with garbage for the landfill in the Comox Valley and bringing trucks back with organics from the Comox Valley for the Campbell River facility, once the landfill in Campbell River closes and garbage is taken to the regional site in the Comox Valley.

The area identified in the application in Infrastructure Canada for funding was at the Norm Wood Environmental Centre, which has been providing wastewater treatment for the city since 1996, as the location for the organics facility, one reason being to cut down on transport costs.

As reported by the Campbell River Mirror, CSWM senior solid waste manager Andrew McGifford discussed details of the planned organics composting facility board members during a recent CSWM meeting. The project will be tendered as a design-build-operate (DBO) facility.

The location of the proposed facility will be either the Norm Wood Environment Centre or an location identified as “Block J” adjacent to the Campbell River Waste Management Centre, the current landfill west of the city.

Comox Strathcona Waste Management

Besides finding a site of the proposed composting facility and making preparations for a Requests for Proposal of a DBO operation, the CSWM has also been in seriously considering the use of waste-to-energy as an option for management of waste in the future. In 2018, the CSWM board approved two directors and one senior staff person to tour a Sustane Technologies facility while in Nova Scotia. Sustane Technologies Inc. is a cleantech company has developed a processes to transform municipal solid waste into high value fuels and recyclable materials.