The province will be cancelling the registration for Cleanit Greenit‘s west Edmonton composting facility effective June 30, 2022.
Following detailed inspections of the facility, Alberta Environment and Parks said it identified “ongoing and persistent issues related to air, land and water.
“These include odour concerns and contaminants found in groundwater,” the province said in a news release Thursday.
“Alberta Environment and Parks has determined it requires a more suitable tool to better regulate this complex facility.”
The province says it has been working with Cleanit Greenit for more than a decade to bring the facility in line with provincial requirements. An enforcement order issued to the company in 2011, was amended eight times and remains in place since “not all of its requirements have been met,” the province said, “including accepting a more manageable amount of waste material for composting to mitigate and eliminate odour concerns.”
West Edmonton residents have spoken out about the stinky smell they attribute to the facility.
In the last five years, Alberta Environment and Parks has fielded more than 800 complaints about unpleasant odours allegedly coming from the facility, the government said.
Ward 1 councillor Andrew Knack has heard a lot of those complaints, and the City of Edmonton has issued at least 33 smell bylaw tickets to Cleanit Greenit — the company has paid fines for 14 of them.
Earlier this month, the city decided to take the company to court.
“The city is seeking an order from the court directing either closure of the facility, or imposition and completion of a court-ordered odour rectification plan,” wrote spokesperson Chrystal Coleman with citizen services.
Any facility that accepts 20,000 tonnes or less of waste per year must comply with Alberta’s Code of Practice for Composting Facilities.
“This Code of Practice requires facilities to manage site runoff, implement measures to control odours, litter and pathogens, and meet groundwater performance standards,” the province said.
Cleanit Greenit will have more than a year before the registration cancellation takes effect, giving the company time to make decisions about how it could operate differently.
In a statement, Cleanit Greenit said it received the registration cancellation notice and is reviewing it.
“We are surprised by the notice given that we have complied with every element of the enforcement order and have demonstrated our work to AEP,” CEO Kirstin Castro-Wunsch said.
“We are confident all smell and other issues identified in the notice will be proven false.”
The company said it will consider options for appealing the notice.
“It is disappointing that AEP chose to take this path instead of working with a local family-run business dedicated to pursuing a healthier environment for our city and region.”
Cleanit Greenit also said it recently completed a report reviewing the results of its voluntary odour patrols and complaints investigations in 2020.
According to the government ministry, if Cleanit Greenit wants to operate beyond June 30, 2022, it could apply for a new authorization under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act.
For any application, the government considers public input, “and can also establish operating conditions tailored to the facility that ensure environmental objectives for waste management are met while addressing potential environmental and community impacts.”