2019-12-25

Municipal Joint Services Board moving closer to solution on foul smell from recycling centre

by Gayle Wilson

  • <p>FILE PHOTO</p><p>Damaged processing structure for Class A compost material awaiting replacement at the Lunenburg Community Recycling Centre.</p>

The Lunenburg Regional Community Recycling Centre at Whynotts Settlement outside of Bridgewater has moved closer to ensuring the foul smell that emanated extensively from the facility last summer don't occur again next year.

On December 3, the Municipal Joint Services Board (MJSB), which controls the facility, granted a contract to replace the old compost building to TreeLine Project Management Ltd. of Bridgetown. TreeLine was one of the companies responding to the MJSB's Request For Proposals to construct a new building, which was eventually issued after the structure of the old one was compromised by strong winds.

"We will be doing repair to the old foundation in the next few weeks," Siew Secord, the MJSB's chief operating officer, told LighthouseNOW in an email shortly after the decision.

Engineering issues concerning the foundation had delayed the construction of a new building. According to Secord, it's hoped now the building will be ready by March, 2020.

The contract to replace the covered building is for $416,222. "However, the Board also approved the extra liner for $124,400, to provide better wind resistance and protection from premature corrosion of the structure," said Secord.

The MJSB came under a barrage of criticism this summer from area residents who complained of putrid smells coming from the recycling centre, and management conceded the smells were the worst they've ever been.

Residents and the MJSB alike pointed to human waste and compost material as a big part of the problem, though Secord explained that weather had also been a significant contributor.

"April and May were very wet and we were not able to do things that we usually would have done during that time," Secord previously told LighthouseNOW.

Plant staff waited to turn the curing compost material until June, when the weather was warmer and more people were outdoors. As well, the facility had "a huge quantity" of bio-solid waste coming from the Town of Bridgewater, which was upgrading its wastewater treatment plant.

Eventually, the centre found itself challenged to handle the volumes of raw sewage it was receiving from the town. Rather than biosolids that have been dried and processed, the facility was receiving unprocessed sewage.

Scott Brown, the recycling centre's supervisor of compost and septic, estimates the town sent the facility an extra 300 to 400 tonnes of sewage as it emptied its large digester. "I don't have an actual volume for you, but it is huge," Brown said.

"We'd see, on average, two, maybe three loads a week. When they were trying to pump their digester down, we were seeing a load every day."

The centre ended up sending some of the sewage to the Kaizer Meadow Solid Waste Management facility on Highway 14, while the Winchester Disposal company in Queens also took some.

The issue has since been sorted, according to Brown.

"It's come to an end now. We're no longer shipping any more. It was just to solve an over capacity problem."

Brown says the Whynotts facility is making process changes, and he's adamant there won't be the same issues next year. "I cannot stress this enough. We will not be repeating what we did last spring," he said.

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