Biosolids

Water that goes down any drain in your home or business—dishwashers, washing machines, sinks, showers, and toilets—enters the municipal sanitary sewer system and ends up at the Kamloops Sewage Treatment Centre (KSTC). Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the wastewater treatment process.

Residents from the City of Kamloops and Tk’emlúps te Secwépemc produce an average of 12,500 bulk tonnes of biosolids every year through the treatment process at the KSTC. Currently, these biosolids are mixed with fibre supplements then transported to the Ingerbelle Compost Facility where they are treated and turned into Class A compost. Ingerbelle compost meets the strict requirements of the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR) and is permitted for retail distribution, although it is not currently available in stores. Nature's Gold and Ogogrow are examples of Class A compost created from biosolids.

The composting process destroys pathogens and weed seeds, reduces the bulk volume of organic materials, and creates an odour-free finished product that is used to enhance soil fertility, stability, and health. The compost process involves a careful interplay between a number of factors, which include particle size, moisture content, oxygen flow, temperature, and feedstock and nutrient balance. 

Composting biosolids to produce a soil product was one of the technologies approved by Council for consideration in the City’s long-term biosolids management strategy, and supports the goals identified for wastewater management outlined in the City's Sustainable Kamloops Plan. Learn more about the methodology and process for developing our long-term biosolids management strategy at Let's Talk Kamloops.

Is the City still stockpiling biosolids in Kamloops?

The current biosolids management solution addresses the historically stockpiled biosolids, as well as the ongoing daily production of biosolids, with the goal of eliminating the stock pile at the Kamloops Sewage Treatment Centre.

Why is the City taking biosolids to Princeton?

Composting biosolids to produce a soil product was one of the technologies presented to Council for consideration in the City’s long-term biosolids management, however, the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation is currently being reviewed and revised by the Province. Until the review is complete and the requirements for composting facilities are clearly defined, the City is hesitant to invest in constructing an expensive local facility.  

The Ingerbelle Compost Facility is permitted by the BC Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR). 

How long has the City been taking biosolids to the Ingerbelle Compost Facility?

The City has a biosolids management contract with Arrow Transportation in 2018 to manage the stockpile as well as the ongoing daily production of biosolids. Arrow purchased the Ingerbelle Compost Facility and has been composting the City’s biosolids there since September 2019.

How much does it cost to compost our biosolids?

In 2020, the City’s biosolids management is expected to cost sewer utility customers $3.2 million.

Many factors impact the cost of biosolids management. Local public opposition and protests against conventional biosolids management processes have resulted in the City spending significant time and money to identify alternative biosolids management locations and processes.

What is the difference between Ingerbelle compost and Cinnamon Ridge compost?

Cinnamon Ridge compost is made from yard waste, whereas Ingerbelle compost is made from biosolds mixed with clean wood fibre. 

Both products have similar soil quality properties (electrical conductivity, micro-nutrients and trace elements) and are treated to eliminate harmful pathogens. Ingerbelle compost is expected to have higher available nitrogen and be less alkaline, resulting in a nutrient-rich soil additive. 

Is Ingerbelle compost the same as Ogogrow in the Okanagan?

OgoGrow and the Ingerbelle compost are both made from municipal wastewater biosolids and would have similarities, but the composting and finishing processes may differ, which would impact the soil quality and physical properties of the final compost. Both facilities produce a Class A compost and are subject to the same regulatory requirements.

Can residents buy Ingerbelle compost?

While Ingerbelle compost is permitted for retail distribution, it is not currently available in stores. Comparable products include Nature's Gold or Ogogrow, which are also made from municipal wastewater biosolids. Residents can also purchase Cinnamon Ridge compost

I have heard there are different classes of compost. What does that mean?

In BC, compost is regulated under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation, which categorizes compost as either Class A or Class B depending on the level of treatment to reduce or eliminate pathogens and stabilize the nutrient content in the feedstock materials. The Ingerbelle facility produces only Class A compost, which has been treated to a level that virtually eliminates all human pathogens and allows for retail distribution of the material similar to any bagged product available in stores.

Is COVID-19 present in Ingerbelle compost?

No. Compost is made from wastewater biosolids that have already been treated at the wastewater treatment plant prior to being used for making compost. The COVID-19 virus is particularly susceptible to heat treatment and is not expected to be present in biosolids following treatment at the wastewater treatment plant.

During the process to produce Class A material, the compost is further heated to temperatures greater than 55°C, which is in the range of pasteurization that effectively kills any residual pathogens or weeds that might be present in the compost feedstock. 

Read more about the topic of COVID-19 and wastewater biosolids here.