Biosolid plant

Biosolid plant proposed for agricultural land on Byrns Road

Biosolids could be pumped 1.6 kilometres from Kelowna’s sewage treatment plant to a new processing facility on Byrns Road.

Early plans for the project, now estimated to cost between $60 million and $100 million, will be presented to council on Monday.

Biosolids, which are essentially dewatered human excrement, are currently trucked to a composting facility shared by Vernon and Kelowna. But that plant will reach capacity in five years so an alternate disposal method is necessary.

The city plans to use a new biosolids processing system called anaerobic digestion. It involves the use of micro-organisms to break down organic matter, like the biosolids produced at the sewage treatment plant, and convert it to biogas.

In 2018, when the city began considering an anaerobic digestion system, costs were estimated to be as much as $50 million.

In the report going to council on Monday, staff outline a plan to pump the biosolids from the sewage treatment plant in an underground pipe to the new processing facility eyed for 28 hectares of city-owned land on Bryns Road.

Several approvals would be necessary for the anaerobic digestion plant to be constructed, including the land being released from the Agricultural Land Reserve.

“Assuming a timely permitting and siting process, the facility is planned to be operational by 2024,” the report to council states.

Also to be determined is exactly how the anaerobic digestion plant would be paid for. A combination of borrowing, government grants and higher utility charges are contemplated.