By Trevor Busch
Concerns about a proposed new composting facility located in proximity to Taber’s waste transfer station were addressed by corporate officials who appeared as a delegation to town council.
“The reason we’re here is to take some the stuff that’s probably been hitting the streets, that you folks have been hearing,” said Bio-Can representative Neil Wiens, at the March 9 meeting of town council.
Bio-Can representatives provided information about permitted and non-permitted materials used for composting; odour concerns; pests such as mice, seagulls and insects; problems with other facilities; and the benefits of an organics program.
The proposed facility to be constructed, referred to by Bio-Can as the Taber compost pad, would consist of a 10-acre site for a compost pad and a 150 square foot mobile office.
In 2014, Bio-Can approached the Town of Taber about the possibility of establishing a compost facility at the town’s waste transfer site, offering to process the town’s compostable material as part of the lease.
The composting facility development changes the potential for the town’s municipal solid waste initiative by significantly impacting the project’s economics. The town currently pays approximately $110 per tonne to haul and tip garbage.
According to administration, Bio-Can’s offer would reduce this cost to an estimated $25 per tonne for anything compostable.
Wiens detailed the operations of the company’s Strathmore facility, which utilizes large static piles turned moderately by heavy equipment. Also provided was a list of permitted and non-permitted compostable materials for the facility, and a description of the automated materials separator unit.
Wiens indicated pests and odours are controlled through proper management of compost piles.
“That’s the other wonderful thing that always comes up when you’re talking about compost facilities. Coyotes are obviously a problem if you don’t have a fence. The other problem is birds will come if you don’t mix it right off the bat. If you’re keeping it at 55 to 65 degrees heat (Celsius), it’s going to keep my insect larvae dead.”
Taber’s facility would be based upon the company’s Penhold, Alta. operations, which utilize an aerated static pile method to effect the changes needed to create usable material with market value.
Composted materials would be premixed to specifications and piled onto aeration tubes in 400 tonne piles. The aeration tubes are connected to fans that force-feed oxygen for six minutes every hour.