Com­post fa­cil­ity sorely needed: pro­po­nent

Com­pany dis­putes com­plaints about stink, fire and chem­i­cals

The Compass - - NEWS - BY LOUIS POWER lpower@thetele­ Twit­ter: @Te­lyLouis

Ter­rance Pen­ney has heard the op­po­si­tion to his com­pany’s pro­posed in­dus­trial com­post­ing fa­cil­ity, and says there’s a lot of mis­in­for­ma­tion be­ing spread.

Metro En­vi­ron­ment Ltd.’s plan to open a fa­cil­ity on the Ar­gen­tia Ac­cess Road near Whit­bourne has drawn the ire of many res­i­dents there — in­clud­ing some on the town’s coun­cil. But he said con­cerns about a foul smell, chem­i­cals and fire are ground­less.

“It’s very sim­ple, a car­bon to nitro­gen ra­tio. It’s a mix. When you get a smell, say from your land­fill, that’s nitro­gen. The only cure for that is car­bon,” he said.

The nitro­gen in Metro En­vi­ron­ment’s com­post­ing fa­cil­ity would come from or­ganic waste like fish guts, chicken car­casses and waste from mink farms; much of the car­bon in this equa­tion would come from con­struc­tion waste — wood that would oth­er­wise end up in a land­fill. Once the right mix has been found, Pen­ney said, odor won’t be an is­sue.

“Car­bon takes away the smell. Com­post­ing done prop­erly, there’ll be noth­ing in the way of smell — noth­ing that would bother a town. Prob­a­bly around the site, you’d smell a lit­tle bit of some­thing, but noth­ing that would go out into the town.”

He added that the pro­posed struc­ture would also have to be en­closed for cli­mate con­trol. The ma­te­ri­als would have to be kept at 55 F and above, and New­found­land’s cli­mate would not al­low for year-round work. Pen­ney said keep­ing the op­er­a­tion in­doors also means there would be no prob­lem with flies or birds at the fa­cil­ity.

He said he’s heard some peo­ple are afraid that the fa­cil­ity will use chem­i­cals in the com­post­ing process — some­thing that puz­zles him.

“The only things we’ve got, we’ve got car­bon, nitro­gen, air, and mois­ture,” he said. “If you call that chem­i­cals, that’s what we’ve got. Car­bon is wood. Nitro­gen will be chicken or an­i­mal flesh, or call it what­ever you want. That’s the nitro­gen.”

A first for N.L.

Should the pro­posal, which is now un­der an en­vi­ron­men­tal as­sess­ment, be ap­proved, the fa­cil­ity would be the first of its kind in this prov­ince. It would take waste from the agri­cul­ture, aqua­cul­ture and con­struc­tion in­dus­tries and trans­form it into or­ganic top­soil that can be sold to farm­ers.

Pen­ney said there are a num­ber of these fa­cil­i­ties in Nova Sco­tia al­ready, and the ser­vice is sorely needed here, where a lot of that waste is be­ing buried.

“You can’t just take this stuff and bury it. If it was as sim­ple as that, you wouldn’t need com­post­ing. Any­body could do it. (Peo­ple are) burying it now, but En­vi­ron­ment knows that they can’t con- tinue do­ing this,” he said.

The pro­posed fa­cil­ity would in­clude a ce­ment floor and leach­ing area — though Pen­ney said leach­ing is not ex­pected as work would be done on a daily ba­sis.

As for the fire con­cern, Pen­ney said the buildings would have hoses in­side, and the wood chips would be kept moist to re­duce dust.

He said the busi­ness would be wel­comed by farms, aqua­cul­ture sites and con­struc­tion com­pa­nies.

“All of these fa­cil­i­ties go hand in hand with each other. They grow their fish and sell it, we take care of their waste, and in the end we get a beau­ti­ful top­soil that we can sell. All re­cy­cling. The land­fills, all their con­struc­tion waste, we can take all of that,” he said.

The need for such a site is also well known within the pro­vin­cial gov­ern­ment, he said, and the gov­ern­ment will have a hand in reg­u­lat­ing the fa­cil­ity.

“If this fa­cil­ity is given an op­por­tu­nity, Forestry and the En­vi­ron­ment, they’ll be look­ing at us like a hen on a worm, watch­ing every­thing, see­ing how it’s done,” he said.

Res­i­dents still have an op­por­tu­nity to ex­press their con­cerns about the pro­ject. The dead­line for sub­mis­sions is June 15. A de­ci­sion is ex­pected by June 25.

Pen­ney said if it is ap­proved, the fa­cil­ity should be ready to roll in 90 days. The com­pany plans to build two more in the prov­ince.

“This can be done, and we can work with this 100 per cent. When we get this up and run­ning, and get the cob­webs taken out of it, like the mix ... the first thing peo­ple will say is, ‘I don’t know what all the hoopla was about.’”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the pro­ject, see http://bit. ly/211cpRV.

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