Cities Working on Waste

As the population in the region increases, the cities of Kelowna and Vernon are working together to identify sustainable ways to manage the region’s growing supply of treated wastewater solids – and they want to hear from residents.

“We are committed to finding a socially, economically and environmentally responsible long-term solution,” said City of Kelowna Utilities Planning Manager Andrew Reeder. “We are looking for a sustainable balance that maximizes the value of a nutrient-rich resource and minimizes potential impacts to communities and the environment.”

Currently, the region’s 28,000 wet tonnes of treated wastewater solids are mixed with wood chips and composted at the Regional Biosolids Compost Facility to produce an organic soil amendment called OgoGrow. The product, which is purchased by Okanagan gardeners, landscaping companies and construction contractors, generates important revenue for the cities and helps keep treated solid waste out of local landfills.

Space limitations at the facility, wood chip supply challenges and the region’s increased production of wastewater solids have created a need for the cities to consider new processing methods, new beneficial end-use options and potential new markets.

The cities are looking for community input to the wastewater solids management planning process through stakeholder meetings and a survey that can be completed on the City of Kelowna and the City of Vernon websites and at the region’s three wastewater treatment facilities.

“We want to hear the interests and values of the community,” said City of Vernon Communications Officer Tanya Laing Gahr. “How we manage wastewater solids is an important part of sustainability planning for the region.”