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Compost site work to begin

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The City of Dauphin’s nuisance grounds is now operating on summer hours, but that is not the only change going on at the site northwest of the city.
For several years, plans have been in place to construct a composting facility at the site and this year they will be brought to fruition, director of Public Works and Operations Bill Brenner said.
The City has been trying for some time to complete the site using Public Works crews to no avail and will now tender the project to contract an outside company to get it finished.
“The intent was that we would get our work done in the summer and that would be a fall project we would do. And we just don’t have enough hours to see it through,” Brenner said.
“For two years we have budgetted to do it that way and it just hasn’t happened.”
With Environmental Act approval in place and a license to operate, Brenner is excited to get things rolling. However, the project is not as simple as piling compostable material on the ground.
The pad for the material has to be compacted clay to prevent leeching and any runoff from the site has to be collected in a pond, also constructed to prevent leeching.
“And we have to install groundwater monitoring wells so we can monitor the groundwater and make sure we are not contaminating it,” Brenner said, adding the city was lucky material at the site tested adequate for the construction.
“It is sandy clay, but there is a thick enough layer that they can get in there and compact it and get the proper seal on all of it. If we had to go hunting for clay, it would have been a totally different story.”
The ultimate goal is to take material collected through the yard waste collection program and the spring and fall cleanup campaigns to produce compost which meets national standards.
The process will be guided by a certified site operator who will keep detailed records, Brenner said, and when those standards are met, the province will pay the city $10 per tonne of compost produced.
“You would think that making dirt would be an easy process, but it is not. It’s very regulated. It is a lot of work,” he said.
The compost produced will be used at the landfill site and once it is up to national standards, the excess will be given away to Dauphin residents.