biosolids 

Whistler’s biosolids popular material Whistler’s biosolid treatment program is becoming more and more popular. For the past three years the municipality has worked with the Ministry of Forests, Ministry of Environment and UBC on forestry applications for the biosolids produced at Whistler’s wastewater treatment plant. The Ministry of Environment now considers the material of "high grade retail" standard. Landscapers are using it, the Ministry of Forests is using it to facilitate the growth of replanted trees, the Sabre Group has experimented with mixing it with organic waste to produce top soil, and it may be part of the local solution to the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District’s composting problem. The biosolids are treated so that all the heavy metals and toxins are removed and the material is pasteurized. The main use for the material to date has been in the forestry program, which the municipality recently committed $97,000 to for another three years. However, the demand for the material has forced council to start charging for the biosolids. Quantities less than one cubic metre will still be available for free, but for larger quantities landscapers and gardeners can expect to pay $5 per cubic metre. The Sabre Group, which has been experimenting for the last 18 months with mixing biosolids with organic kitchen waste, wood chips and other soils, would like to buy all the material the municipality produces this year. Sabre’s plan could be part of Whistler’s solution to disposing of organic material. Under provincial legislation each regional district must reduce the amount of material that goes into landfill sites. Composting is seen as part of the solution. But the municipality has made a commitment to the forestry program — even though it is costing the municipality money to get rid of material it could be selling. Engineer John Nelson pointed out that the forestry program is an investment in the future, as the GVRD and other municipalities have tons of material they would like to get rid of. There is virtually no limit to how much material the forestry industry could use, although it has yet to make a decision on how much it will use this year. "It is a unique material; no one else’s is treated this way," Councillor Bill Murray said in requesting a review of the municipality’s costs to participate in the program. Municipal staff will go back to the Ministry of Forests to see if they can reduce or eliminate the municipality’s costs of participating in the program.

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