Troubled Edmonton composting facility permanently shut down
'The structural integrity of the roof doesn't allow us to continue to operate'
Edmonton's troubled composting facility, which is less than 20 years old, is being shut down and decommissioned after failing a recent safety inspection, city officials say.
The composter, built in 2000 at a cost of $97 million, was closed over the winter after structural problems with the roof were found.
The facility was expected to reopen for the summer, but a spring inspection found the building had deteriorated further and is no longer safe, the city said in a news release.
"The structural integrity of the roof doesn't allow us to continue to operate," said Michael Labrecque, branch manager of waste services.
"Our first steps is to shut it down," Labrecque said Wednesday. "Then we'll begin the process of decommissioning."
The 270,000-square-foot facility has mainly been offline since 2017, when engineers discovered structural issues with the roof, which was unable to handle the weight of the snow.
Plans are being developed for a new, replacement compost facility with a goal of having it ready sometime between 2023 and 2025, Labrecque said.
Despite the closure, the city will continue with its pilot project to collect separated organic waste, he said.
In the short term, the plan is to divert organic waste to the anaerobic digestion facility, which is undergoing some upgrades that will continue into the third quarter of 2019.
If the amount of organic waste coming in is more than the facility can handle, "the worst case scenario is it'll end up in the landfill," Labrecque said.
A full report outlining short- and long-term plans for dealing with organic waste in the city will be presented to city council's utilities committee meeting in June, he said.