After months of discussion Metro Vancouver has finally issued an air quality management permit to the Enviro-Smart Organics Ltd. composting facility in East Ladner.
The permit was issued on Aug. 1 and is valid until Sept. 30, 2023.
As part of the permit, the 72nd Street composting operation is required to be fully enclosed by March 1, 2020. The permit also prohibits odour detection at decreasing distances until March 2020, when there should be no odour coming from the facility.
“It’s a long permit, some 43 pages, all of which matter,” said Ray Robb, division manager with Metro Vancouver’s environmental regulatory and enforcement services. “A lot of the things were agreed to back in May, but we have been going back-and-forth with the company on a few things.
“We wanted to make sure we had a good permit that would withstand challenges. We also wanted to make sure it delivered on the kind of results the public was looking for both in the short-term and what we thought would do the job after March 1, 2020.”
Robb said Enviro-Smart must enclose all odiferous parts of the facility, which would include the receiving, processing, grinding, composting and screening areas. If Enviro-Smart does not comply, he said Metro has enforcement mechanisms at its disposal.
“We can take action. The fines available are up to a million dollars a day, so we have powerful penalties under our laws,” he said. “It is very clearly laid out what the target date is and what has to be done. They also need to put in a biofilter that is state-of-the art. The standards that we are imposing for this biofilter are above and beyond any biofilter that we have in the region or nearby.”
Robb said the biofilter must ensure the diluted air that comes out must be so weak in odour that the average person will not be able to smell it under the worst case meteorological conditions.
The Optimist reached out for comment from Enviro-Smart, but did not receive a response.
Enviro-Smart has been the subject of hundreds of air quality complaints for the past couple of years, prompting Metro Vancouver to begin discussions with the company last summer about an air quality management permit.
Since then there have been a couple of community meetings where the public has called for action to resolve the odour issues.
A full copy of the permit can be found by searching for “Enviro-Smart permit” at www.metrovancouver.org.