Structural Problems Close Edmonton Compost Facility

Connector Fall 2017

Edmonton city councillors are demanding to know why a key composting facility in Edmonton had such structural damage that it had to close suddenly in October, forcing organic waste to be sent to the landfill for the winter.

Engineers discovered structural problems with the roof of the aeration hall in the composting facility, creating safety problems for staff working at the 270,000-square-foot building. “The roof can’t hold a live snow load, that’s why we made the decision to suspend processing organics in the processing facility,” said Mike Labrecque, branch manager of waste services.

A report in front of the city utility committee says the financial implications may “potentially be significant.”

Michael Walters is one of several councillors wondering why past inspections didn’t reveal the problems sooner. “The project-management and asset-management challenges we’ve had in the last number of years are no secret,” he said. “How this asset turned from being in good condition to being in very poor condition very quickly – we’re still waiting to understand.”

Labrecque said the waste services department is looking at other options for composting, such as other locations in or around the Edmonton area. “It’s a massive facility – we handle 150,000 tonnes of material every year.”

Waste services staff are being asked to report back to council with a detailed plan on how to fix the composting facility or possibly demolish it. There will also be a review of the previous assessments.

Source: CBC News