Organic Matter Recycling Regulation Compliance Activities on Vancouver Island

During the 2004-2005 fiscal year, Ministry of Environment staff from the Environmental Management Branch of the Vancouver Island Region inspected 13 composting sites operating under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR).

This included ten facilities not previously inspected and three sites where compliance issues needed to be addressed. In general, there were only a few items for which a significant percentage of non-compliance was noted, namely the requirements for proper leachate management, which includes:

  • completion of an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) by a qualified professional demonstrating that leachate from the compost facility will not have an adverse impact on the environment, or
  • the use of appropriate pollution controls to prevent leachate from entering the environment.

Advisories have been issued to encourage composters to rectify these compliance issues and ministry staff continue to assist clients in attaining compliance.

From September 2003 to February 2004, ministry staff carried out an audit of 10 facilities in the mid-island and southern portions of the island operating under the OMRR. An audit involves coordinated inspections in a specific industrial sector that are conducted to generate general observations for reporting purposes.

While the composting sites audited were selected at random, some effort was made to ensure that a variety of facility sizes and feed stocks were included. Because the OMRR was a relatively new regulation, many facility operators were uncertain about their obligations under OMRR and the audit found that none of the facilities were compliant with the regulation.

The ministry is concerned about this finding and staff has been following up with these facilities to improve the compliance rate by ensuring that required analyses are being conducted and that proper records are being kept. They are also providing direction to facility operators and qualified professionals assessing environmental impacts or necessary infrastructure for the composting facilities.

Since the audit was completed in early 2004, most of the audited composting facilities have been working on achieving compliance, principally by addressing leachate management issues. The ministry has also inspected composting facilities that weren't included in the original audit, as noted above.