The City of Merritt, in the Nicola Valley, had an excellent vision for sustainability.
In 2008, Merritt asked for proposals to compost their Class B biosolids. The request for proposals referenced a report that concluded: “Composting in Merritt and the availability of the final biosolids compost to the community was deemed to be very important to the Liquid Waste Management Plan Public Advisory Committee”, and “composting has the potential to produce a very high quality product which is suitable for use as a soil amendment, without restrictions.” The Public Advisory Committee was made up of “interested concerned” residents of Merritt, and also included input from the general public through open houses and newsletters.
The City of Merritt’s preference was to be able to have a Composting Center within the City Boundary, perhaps even near the location where the biosolids had been placed for many years already. The city also mentioned the dream of composting other organic waste produced in Merritt.
Transform was able to assist the City of Merritt in realizing this vision, together with the Good Earth Company. This biosolids compost facility has been operational since 2009. This compost facility, and the quality compost that it produces, and its use in the community, is part of the reason that the City of Merritt has done so well in the Communities in Bloom competitions.
The reason that compost is so important for the Nicola Valley is that the climate is dry, there is not a lot of vegetation covering the soil, and not enough organic matter to hold the soil together. The 2013 Integrated Storm Water Management Plan for Merritt indicated that to protect the river and the aquifers, additional growing media is required and vegetation needs to be planted in the City.
These recommendations are in line with the Soils for Salmon program, developed in Washington State, that provide Best Management Practices for urban and residential soils. The principles of this program include:
- “Soil degradation and water pollution are widely recognized as major environmental problems
- Healthy soils directly contribute to healthier water resources and thus indirectly support salmon
- Steps taken to improve soils lead to improved water quality and quantity that will result in healthier fish habitat
- Increased use for compost helps close the recycling loop through beneficial use of organic materials.”
Biosolids compost is part of the Best Management Practice.
We celebrate the International Year of Soils in 2015, and we congratulate the City of Merritt and the Nicola Valley for their Vision for Sustainability.
See video at: https://youtu.be/CAfp4LNY3ns