Spring is around the corner - a time for new beginnings and new growth. Typically, I would equate the season with the emergence of daffodils and crocuses; however, completion of the Town's state of the art bio-solids facility is an even more exciting example of new growth and sustainability in our community. While not as aesthetically pleasing as a colourful spring flower, the new facility will process bio-solids (sludge) from our waste water treatment plant and transform it into the Class A compost that in turn, is spread over the Town's landscaping as a rich topsoil, helping to fertilize and grow beautiful plants and flowers for everyone to enjoy.
Design elements for the bio-solids facility include; enclosed processing area on a concrete floor, air handling system complete with bio-filtration, aeration system to ensure the process remains aerobic, negative air pressure to help contain odours, leachate collection system, and automated compost turner/mixer.
Completion of the new facility has been a testament to the importance of community resilience and working together to overcome difficult challenges. Many of you will remember that Ladysmith had been composting bio-solids at the Public Works yard for years. However, the nature of the bio-solids changed when our new and improved Waste Water Treatment Plant became operational. While the new technology resulted in dramatically cleaner water being discharged from the plant, no one anticipated the odour from the Town’s bio-solids would be as difficult to manage as it was.
We knew we needed to act quickly to find a solution that responded to the concerns of the community and in a way that met Council's strategic priority for maintaining, renewing and expanding natural and built infrastructure. With that in mind, we found a new location to process our bio-solids in an industrial-zoned area on Thicke Road. We secured an interim partner to temporarily process our bio-solids, so that we could stop composting operations at our Public Works Yard while the plant was being built. And we worked hard to ensure the design of the new facility was based on leading technologies, innovation and sustainability, all hallmarks of Council's strategic priorities and our Town's vision for the future.
The new operation is not only socially responsible, economically viable, and sustainable; it’s a clear reflection of Ladysmith's role and reputation as a progressive, innovative and self-reliant leader. Ladysmith doesn't have to rely on others to treat, test and dispose of our bio-solids. We can manage our own operations over the long-term and ensure we are building on the infrastructure foundation for our community's future. The same can be said for our Waste Water Treatment Plant and our soon-to-be-built Water Filtration facility. These generational investments set a solid foundation for our future.
I am so proud of the steps we've taken to improve the quality of Ladysmith's infrastructure. With the new bio-solids facility now operational, the Town's composting program can continue to create a useful new product by effectively and safely returning bio-solids to the land we all love so much, while also ensuring new growth and new beginnings are realized in Ladysmith each and every spring.