Edmonton

Complaint-ridden Edmonton composting facility to lose its registration to operate

The province has given a private composting facility in northwest Edmonton until June 2022 to get a new operating licence before its existing registration is revoked.

Cleanit Greenit getting one year to 'choose a path forward for the facility'

Albertans have lodged more than 800 calls to Alberta Environment and Parks about odours emanating from the Cleanit Greenit site, while the city received at least 300 complaints in 2020 alone. (Scott Neufeld/CBC)

The province has given a private composting facility in northwest Edmonton until June 2022 to get a new operating licence before its existing registration is revoked.

Odours from Cleanit Greenit have been a misery to nearby residents for the last 10 years. In 2011, Alberta Environment ordered Cleanit Greenit to stop accepting waste following a slew of complaints.

A Thursday news release from Alberta Environment and Parks says it has worked with the facility since 2011 to bring it into compliance with provincial requirements. The original enforcement order has been amended eight times but remains in force because not all of its requirements have been met.

"The department is giving Cleanit Greenit more than a year for the cancellation to take effect to allow the company to choose a path forward for the facility," the ministry stated in the news release.

Currently, the facility operates under a registration that orders it to comply with Alberta's Code of Practice for Composting Facilities. The code covers such operational items as site runoff, odour control, litter, pathogens and groundwater safety.

In a statement sent to media Thursday afternoon, Cleanit Greenit said the Alberta Environment and Parks cancellation notice came as a surprise. 

"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 in the statement. "We are confident all smell and other issues identified in the notice will be proven false.

"We will consider options for appealing the notice and look forward to reviewing in detail all compliance measures we have taken. 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."

Except for hazardous wastes, Cleanit Greenit can accept any type of waste including organics, food waste, biosolids and agri-food processing waste.

On Thursday, the government said there needs to be "a more suitable tool to better regulate this complex facility.

"If the facility wishes to operate beyond June 30, 2022, there are several options including applying for a new authorization under the Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act," stated the release.

Inspections of the west-end facility have determined that Cleanit Greenit has had "ongoing and persistent issues related to air, land and water." These issues include odour concerns repeatedly raised by neighbours and groundwater contamination, said the release.

Albertans have lodged more than 800 calls to Alberta Environment about odours, while the city received at least 300 complaints in 2020 alone.

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