landfill

Why not compost at Campbell Mountain?

In a comment on a previous post, George Bush (Director for RDOS Electoral Area G) asks: Why not compost sewage sludge at Campbell Mountain if that is where it is going to be used as biocover anyway?  This is a good question so I asked Cam Baughen at the RDOS for some additional background on why Campbell Mountain did not even make the RDOS's shortlist of potential regional composting sites.  Basically, the site has two critical shortcomings:

NIMBY-ism and tough composting decisions

Part of being an RDOS director is that occasionally you are on the receiving end of public outrage about this decision or that decision.  My email inbox currently runneth over with demands that the Marron Valley option be removed from the short list of new compost sites.  What is missing from these letters is an alternative location.  To spell it out: When you say, “Not in my backyard” in this type of decision problem you are really saying, “In someone else’s backyard.”  Just demanding “somewhere else” is not sufficient because RDOS staff have already looked at pretty much the whole region (the advantage of a good mapping system).  And the status quo has significant financial implications for all of us.  So just telling us you don’t want a composting site near you is not new news.  What we require is information that causes us to reassess the balance of trade-offs.