General Information

    Why is a composting facility needed?

    Organics currently make up about 30 per cent of the total waste that is landfilled within the Comox Strathcona Waste Management (CSWM) service area. By removing organic material from the waste stream, we will extend the long-term life of our landfills. This will result in a smaller environmental footprint and, in the long term, provide the most cost effective approach for handling solid waste for the taxpayers.

    When buried in a landfill, organic material also produces methane gas, a key contributor to global climate change. Properly composting organic waste is an important step to sustainably manage waste in our region as it reduces the greenhouse gas emissions that would otherwise be associated with its decomposition.

    What is being built at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre?

    A new regional composting facility will be built at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre. Construction will be complete in 2021, enabling a phased introduction of organics collection for over 30,000 single-family dwellings in Campbell River, Comox, Cumberland and Courtenay.

    Why is food waste being composted together with yard waste?

    Collecting food and yard waste together at the curb minimizes the number of curbside pickups which helps reduce costs. In addition, comingled food and yard waste provides a better feedstock to the composting process. 

    What will happen with the organics that are collected?

    The composting facility will repurpose household food and yard waste into finished compost that can be used for agriculture and landscaping.

    When will organics collection occur in my community?

    Phased in curbside organics collection will occur in the participating municipalities of Campbell River, Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland over the summer and fall 2022.

    What are the next steps after this phase on consultation about the design?

    A summary of our consultation process will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment to support our applications for:

    • A targeted amendment to CSWM’s Solid Waste Amendment Plan to construct the regional organics facility
    • An Operating Permit for the regional organics facility under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation

    What are the economic benefits of this project?

    The facility will create employment opportunities as well as indirect benefits such as reducing reliance on non-renewable resources, helping to sustain the agricultural industry and reducing landfill gas emissions.

    Will compost collection be available for businesses like restaurants, or multi-family dwellings?

    The intention of the facility is to have future capacity for organics from commercial facilities. To begin, the program will be available to single family households for co-mingled food and yard waste in Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland and Campbell River. In the future, we will look to work with the municipalities for integrating organic collection from multifamily and commercial sources.

About the Facility

    Who is designing the facility?

    Solid waste engineering firm, Sperling Hansen, was selected through a competitive process in 2020 to design the facility. The contract is a traditional design-bid-build contract.  Sperling Hansen has also teamed up with Net Zero Waste, which has been operating the compost pilot project at Comox Valley Waste Management Centre successfully since 2013.

    Who will operate the facility?

    The operational contract will be awarded through a competitive process early in 2022.

    What will be the hours of operation?

    The facility will accept feedstock from participating municipalities during standard collection days. Detailed operation will be determined when the operational contract is developed early in 2022.

    Where will the new transfer station be located?

    The transfer station will be located at the Comox Valley Waste Management Centre at 3699 Bevan Road, Cumberland, BC.

    How will the new facility be paid for?

    The overall project cost estimate is $15.5 million with $6.4 million expected to be funded by grants and the remaining $9.1 million by reserves.

    Why was this location selected?

    The Campbell River Waste Management Centre was determined to be the most suitable location because the site is zoned for heavy industrial use, has specific zoning for composting, has lower costs and is adjacent to fewer properties with a greater buffer between the facility and its neighbours.

    When will the new composting facility open?

    The design will be finalized by summer 2021 with construction commencing in fall 2021. The facility will be fully operational by fall 2022, enabling the phased introduction of curbside organics collection in Campbell River, Courtenay, Comox and Cumberland by year end 2022.

    Will rural residents be included in the service, or be to able to bring food scraps to the landfill once the facility is open?

    The organic compost facility is initially open to participating municipalities (Courtenay, Comox, Cumberland, Campbell River). A rural roadside waste collection service has been proposed for rural areas of the CVRD that would include garbage, recycling, and seasonal yard waste collection, but food waste will not be included in the service at this time. We will be reviewing the potential of a residential food waste drop-off location at the landfill with landfill operations.

Important Considerations

    Will neighbours be affected by the new facility?

    The facility will be state-of-the-art and designed to minimize impacts to neighbours and the environment. We plan to not only meet stringent environmental and community standards, but we look to exceed minimum standards wherever reasonable to mitigate any impacts. All composting activities will be completed indoors, minimizing noise and odour. There will be no impacts to groundwater and surrounding habitat.

    How will concerns about odour and noise be addressed?

    The successful management of odour is a critical component in the design and operation of this facility. The proposed layout of the facility will provide a buffer area between the facility and neighbours. The receiving and processing of organic waste will take place daily within a fully enclosed building.  Air will be captured through an HVAC system and then treated using biofilter technology, preventing odours from leaving the building. Secondary composting will take place under a covered building, and utilize GORE compost cover technology to prevent any odours.

    The finished compost will be stored under a covered area and will look and smell like rich, dark earth.

    What environmental regulations will this facility be required to meet?

    The Ministry administers and regulates air quality issues, including odour issues, under the authority of the Environmental Management Act (the Act). The Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (Regulation) governs production, quality and land application of certain types of organic matter. The Act and Regulation are the two primary regulatory documents that govern odour management related to processing organics waste in BC.

    A summary of our consultation process will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment to support our applications for:

    • A targeted amendment to CSWM’s Solid Waste Amendment Plan to construct the regional organics facility
    • An Operating Permit for the reginal organics facility under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation

    The new facilities will also require development and building permits from the City of Campbell River and the Village of Cumberland, as well as comply with Public Nuisance bylaws, which includes prevention of nuisance odours.

    Will traffic in the area increase once the facility is in operation?

    There are almost no roadway improvements required and traffic impacts will be minimal, as organic waste collection will integrate with the existing waste collection systems at the Campbell River Waste Management Centre. The main access to the site would be from Hwy 28, which will not affect most neighbouring properties on Argonaut Road.

    How will operations be managed so that groundwater is protected?

    At a composting facility, best practice involves clear separation of areas where leachate is generated within the compost buildings and areas on the property where stormwater is collected and drained. Leachate is water that co­­mes into contact with organic waste. Stormwater includes all water that drains from structures, covered areas, walkways, roads and the site courtyard areas.

    Unprocessed materials will be stored inside and composting will be undertaken exclusively inside buildings on concrete surfaces. Moisture content is carefully controlled as part of the process and leachate will be collected in sealed tanks and reused as part of the composting process. Leachate will not be discharged to the environment during the composting process.

    Stormwater will be collected in a lined holding pond where it will be aerated and sediment will be removed. The resulting clean stormwater will be discharged into an unlined pond and re-infiltrated into the ground. Water use onsite will be managed carefully and will not have an impact on groundwater quality or supply.

    How will a regional organics facility help to manage waste more cost effectively?

    Removing organics from the waste stream will extend the life of the landfill and reduce operating costs that are required to manage leachate at the landfill. This includes providing erosion control, sediment control and surface water treatment during active landfilling.

    This site is next to a forested area with wildlife present. What plans are in place to prevent disruption of the species that are present in the area?

    The facility will be located on already disturbed land to avoid disruption to adjacent forested areas, natural habitat and wildlife. A wooded area will be kept around the facility to mitigate visual impacts.

    While some trees will be cleared on the site to accommodate the compost facility, responsible site planning and layout will retain the maximum amount of forest possible for habitat conservation and buffer purposes. The site will be developed during an appropriate nesting window for tree cutting.

    All delivery of compost feedstock and active composting will occur indoors to prevent birds from being attracted to the site. The site will be secured to ensure bears and other animals do not frequent the area and become a nuisance.