City Council Makes Formal Recommendation for Composting


Brianna Gibbs/KMXT

Last night the Kodiak City Council made a formal recommendation to the city manager on the biosolid issue in Kodiak. Biosolid waste was the lone topic of discussion during a February 18 special work session. At that meeting the council heard about the history of waste disposal in Kodiak, as well as how the proposed composting site in Middle Bay came to fruition and why composting was the suggested solution to the accumulating biosolids. Council members said composting the waste was the most realistic, environmentally sound and affordable solution to handling city, borough and Coast Guard residents’ waste.
The proposed Middle Bay composting site was taken off the table during that work session, bringing a momentary sigh of relief to the handful of Middle Bay residents that adamantly spoke against the proposed site at nearly every city and borough meeting since October. But for some, the relief was short lived when the conversation continued to focus on composting the waste for future sale and use.
Last night the council heard from a number of community members, not about site location, but composting in general. Some worried that composting human waste was a health hazard and didn’t feel comfortable allowing it to be put back in the community. One resident, Kevin Arndt, proposed a different disposal method. He said drying gasification, also known as incineration, has be discredited by the city’s consultants as too costly, but he urged the council to take a closer look.

— (Sludge Cont. 1 :45 “I’d like to propose a system that is … being regulated.”)

During the February 18 work session, the council heard about various options for waste disposal, including incineration, but ultimately agreed composting would be the most economic way to go. They suggested the city manager look into the possibility of a long term composting facility at the borough landfill, but recognized that a formal recommendation for action would need to be made at a regular meeting. During last night’s meetings, the council did just that and unanimously voted in favor of recommending Class A composting at the landfill.
Councilman Terry Haines said the decision to compost was a long, carefully thought out one by the council. He said people may be against the compost because they don’t understand what the end product is.
— (Sludge Cont. 2 :43 “I don’t want people to confuse the raw … course now.”)

Councilman Rich Walker agreed, and said he appreciated the option presented by Arndt.
— (Sludge Cont. 3 :24 “Coming from an environmental background … run for us.”)

The biosolids are currently being composted into Class B compost and stored at the landfill, but that process must end by August 15. If the Class A composting facility is not up and running by that date the city will have to find an interim method of disposal. No decision has been made on that short term option, but during the February 18 work session the council considered either storing the sludge at Gibson Cove, a location on Coast Guard property or shipping it off island. ###

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