The City of Kelowna is looking to take care of its poop problem.
In the next five years, it’s expecting to hit capacity at its current composting facility near Vernon.
So city staff are now eyeing an option called anaerobic digestion, which uses organisms to break down the biosolids further.
“The whole idea with the anaerobic digestion is that we’re reducing the volume by about 45 per cent of what it is currently,” said City of Kelowna utility planning manager Rod MacLean.
“And what that does is that extends the life of the compost facility,” he added.
City staff have proposed building a new biosolids facility on its 28 hectares of land on Byrnes Road, which is already tentatively slated to be home to a new wastewater treatment facility.
To keep costs down, the biosolids facility needs to be relatively close to the current wastewater treatment plant on Raymer Avenue, MacLean said.
“All sanitary water, everything you flush comes down towards KLO Road and towards the lake on Raymer Avenue, so we need something close by,” MacLean said.
The city’s Byrnes Road property is in the agricultural land reserve and would need to be rezoned, he said.
However, local residents near the proposed facility have voiced concerns.
“Absolutely not, not on this road. This is mostly agricultural land in the agricultural land reserve and we should not take any of our agricultural land for other uses,” neighbour Margarita Littley said.
“Why don’t they put a toilet in their own backyard. Go put a toilet in their own city hall and live with it,” she added.
Landowners have the right to the enjoyment of their property, she added.
MacLean acknowledged that there is an odour in all bisolids but said the city will manage the smell.
“We manage it at the wastewater treatment process. We manage it at the compost facility. We’ll have to manage the same thing in whatever new process that we decide to do.”
The city will now speak with potential regional partners to see if they want to be involved, MacLean said.
The project is estimated to run anywhere from $50 to $100 million.
The city said it will move forward with another study and eventually hold open houses and public hearings so the public has a chance to share its feedback.
If the project is given the green light, the city hopes the biosolids facility will be up and running in the next five years.