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Creston composting facility opens Tuesday

The Regional District of Central Kootenay will officially open its new composting facility at the Creston landfill on Tuesday to support a curbside organics collection program.

Creston will become the first community in the RDCK to offer the service as part of a multi-phase plan to implement a region-wide strategy to keep food waste from landfills.

“Over the past five years, the RDCK and our partners have put a lot of effort into getting to this point,” RDCK resource recovery manager Amy Wilson said in a news release.

“We are beyond excited to be launching the first phase of our regional composting program. Annually, the compost facilities in Creston and eventually Salmo are expected to divert over 2,000 tonnes of organic waste from entering the landfill, resulting in big wins towards meeting our climate action goals.”

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The new composting facility at the Creston landfill. (Courtesy Regional District of Central Kootenay)

Development of an organics diversion program began in 2017. The RDCK has since received two grants, totaling over $3.7 million to kickstart the program.

“Thinking back almost 25 years ago, we realized the Creston landfill site had a very limited life span unless significant shifts in operations and practices were made,” said Garry Jackman, director for electoral Area A, which includes the East Shore of Kootenay Lake.

“Through the actions of our staff and our regional board we have seen better separation of construction waste, increased yard and garden waste diversion, improved recycling practices and better overall landfill management including fugitive methane gas capture.

“Organics diversion and composting is just the next step in the logical process to reduce our impact on the environment and maintain the most cost effective, efficient operation of the site over the long term.”

While the Creston composting facility opens this month, construction of the central composting facility near Salmo started in early May and is scheduled to be finished by October. Once operational, this facility will accept organic material from Castlegar, Greater Trail, and commercial sources.

Both facilities will feature basic forced aeration composting technology. Collected organic waste will be received at both facilities in large mixing buildings. To maintain proper nutrient ratios, food waste will be combined with clean wood and yard and garden waste in a specialized mixing unit. Once mixed, the material will be transported to aerated windrows.

“The composting technology being used for the regional program is cost effective and results in significant environmental benefit for everyone in the region,” said Wilson.

“Additionally it can compost a significantly wider range of organic waste than backyard composting and many other home based options and generates a valuable resource that can be used for any soil improvement application.”

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