Desludging could smell relief for Southside residents

City plan explores composting 950 tonnes of sludge-filled giant black fabric sausages nearby the sewage lagoons

City plan explores composting 950 tonnes of sludge-filled giant black fabric sausages nearby the sewage lagoons

The City of Revelstoke is moving forward with a $500,000 plan to desludge one of two sewage lagoons at the sewer treatment plant located on Powerhouse Road.

On June 14, council gave the first three readings to a bylaw authorizing that half a million dollars be borrowed to clean out an estimated 950 dry tonnes of sludge from Lagoon No. 1.

“We need to do this – it’s long overdue,” engineering director Brian Mallett explained to council. “We’re rapidly filling up,” he said.

There are two lagoons at the facility, appropriately named Lagoon No. 1 and Lagoon No. 2. Lagoon No. 1 was last cleaned out in 1998. Lagoon No. 2 was desludged in 2005.

Mallett explained the full lagoon was having detrimental effects on residents. Warmer spring weather sets an annual biological process in motion that leads to increased odours, Mallett explained.

If the city cleaned it, “[we] wouldn’t be getting so many calls in the springtime from the residents of South Revelstoke,” Mallett explained.

The engineering department is also exploring a new disposal method for the tonnes of sludge once it is removed.

In the past the city dug out the sludge, added a chemical that caused it to cake, then ran it through a big centrifuge – “a glorified lettuce washer,” Mallett explained. That won’t change this time around.

What happens next could change.

Last time, the dry sludge was hauled up to the landfill for disposal. This time, the engineering department is exploring the possibility of composting the sludge on-site, using giant “fabric sausages.” The waste will be pumped into them and the “black sausages” will be left to compost near the lagoons.

Is there a chance that 950 tonnes of ‘black sausages’ could contribute to the odour problem and be an eyesore?

Mallett said he believed that trees around the facility would deal with the visual issue.

“We don’t want to go jumping down on this alternative form before we have some pretty good answers,” Mallett explained in reference to potential odour problems. “We’re going to want to do our homework,” he said. This included looking into the smell issue, exploring storing the sausages somewhere else, or simply trucking the dry waste to the landfill like before.

Work is expected to start later in the summer.