Edmonton compost company has registration cancelled after inspections and 800 complaint calls

Alberta Environment and Parks has shut down a composting company’s registration after inspections of the west Edmonton facility found persistent odour and contaminant issues.

Cleanit Greenit’s registration is cancelled effective June 30, 2022, said an Alberta Environment news release sent Thursday. The department said it is giving the composting facility more than a year for the cancellation to take effect in order to allow it time to “choose a path forward” for the facility.

According to the province, Cleanit Greenit must operate in accordance with the Alberta 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,” said the release.

Based off “detailed” inspections of the facility, Alberta Environment and Parks has identified “ongoing” and “persistent” issues related to air, land, and water including odour concerns and groundwater contaminants.

The province said over 800 calls were made to Environment and Parks with complaints about unpleasant odours emanating from the facility.

If the facility wants to operate beyond June 30 next year, it will need to apply for new authorization from Alberta Environment and Parks.

CLEANIT GREENIT ‘SURPRISED’ BY CANCELLATION NOTICE

Kirstin Castro-Wunsch, CEO of Cleanit Greenit Composting System, said in a statement to CTV News Edmonton that she is surprised about the cancellation and that options for appealing it are under consideration.

“We will consider options for appealing the notice and look forward to reviewing in detail all compliance measures we have taken,” she said. “It is disappointing that Alberta Environment and Parks 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.”

“We have complied with every element of the enforcement order and have demonstrated our work to Alberta Environment and Parks. We are confident all smell and other issues identified in the notice will be prove false.”

ODOUR ISSUES PLAGUE COMPOST COMPANY FOR SEVERAL YEARS

Cleanit Greenit has faced numerous concerns surrounding odours originating from the facility.

It is currently dealing with a lawsuit from the City of Edmonton which said it has had problems with Cleanit Greenit for “several years.”

Alberta Environment and Parks said it has worked with Cleanit Greenit for more than a decade to ensure its facility is in compliance with provincial regulations.

Cleanit Greenit has operated with a provincial enforcement order since 2011. The province said the order has been amended eight times since and remains in place since not all requirments have been met.

“This enforcement order has outlined a number of requirements for the facility since 2011, including accepting a more manageable amount of waste material for composting to mitigate and eliminate odour concerns,” the province said in a statement.

A petition launched in February last year – created by frustrated residents living around the facility – garnered over 2,100 signatures. The petition called for the suspension of the business licence granted to Cleanit Greenit because of the overwhelming stench coming from the facility.

In December 2020, Cleanit Greenit paid $3,500 worth of nuisance odour tickets issued by the City of Edmonton to avoid court proceedings.

“We accept some responsibility for some of the odour,” Cleanit Greenit CEO, Kirstin Castro-Wunsch told CTV News Edmonton in December 2020.

“But I want to be clear; we are not the sole source of odour in the west end. There’s many sources,” said Castro-Wunsch, who claimed nearby businesses, sewers, wells and construction sites also periodically emit foul odours.

Alberta Environment and Parks encouraged anyone to report incidents that may cause harm to the environment, including concerns about odours, to its hotline at 1-800-222-6514.

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Nicole Weisberg, Dan Grummett, and Diego Romero