The OgoGrow facility composts biosolids from Vernon and Kelowna. (photo submitted)

The OgoGrow facility composts biosolids from Vernon and Kelowna. (photo submitted)

OgoGrow plant stays put

Vernon and Kelowna take a look at biosolids composting

A program that turns treated sewage waste into a marketable product is under review, but the facility isn’t moving.

One issue that won’t likely be considered is the future of the Commonage compost plan as the cities of Vernon and Kelowna are initiating a strategic review of the waste water solids program.

“The investment made in the Commonage facility is significant and to walk away from that investment would be difficult,” said Tim Phelan, with Opus International, which is consulting on the process.

Over the years, some nearby residents have expressed concerns about the odour from the plant.

“There is a lot of residential there — Predator Ridge is expanding,” said Brian Quiring, a Vernon councillor.

However, Coun. Scott Anderson says the complaints are generated by three to five people.

“We’re not talking about a widespread problem,” he said.

Currently, the region’s 28,000 wet tonnes of treated waste water solids are mixed with wood chips and composted at the biosolids compost facility to produce an organic soil product called OgoGrow.

Space limitations at the facility, wood chip supply challenges and the region’s increased production of waste water solids have created a need for the cities to consider new processing methods, new end-use options and potential new markets.

The cities are looking for community input to the waste water solids management planning process through stakeholder meetings and a survey that can be found at getinvolved.kelowna.ca

“We want to look at how we manage biosolids and process biosolids. We want to look at the costs, environmental impacts and social impacts,” said Andrew Reeder, the City of Kelowna’s utility planning manager.

Phelan insists that public concerns about the odour will be addressed in the process.

“It’s the No. 1 evaluation criteria on the list,” he said.

Public engagement is starting now and the survey will close May 12.