by David Goldstein

Final week, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors granted Agromin a allow for commercial-scale composting on the Limoneira Farm close to Santa Paula. This will appear like a current response to the start of residential curbside meals scrap recycling in most of Ventura County final month, however the venture has truly been within the planning and allowing phases since 2010, six years earlier than state laws mandated meals recycling.

Extra considerably for the pressing composting wants of the county, Agromin’s expanded operation is not going to doubtless be prepared to simply accept meals scraps for 2 years. Plans name for building of six buildings, improvement of 5 onsite wastewater therapy techniques, set up of composting tools, highway and entry enhancements, infrastructure to seize floor water runoff from the positioning, and different costly and time-consuming preparations for the transition.

At present, Agromin’s 15-acre operation on the farm produces mulch and compost only for the farm. This venture will develop operations to 70 acres, enabling the corporate to additionally compost meals scraps and to make compost for business sale.

Apart from the present, on-farm operation at Limoneira, which handles about 100,000 tons per yr, Ventura County has 5 different organics processing websites, none of which may compost meals scraps. This contains Agromin’s operation on the Simi Valley Landfill, receiving and transferring to different areas about 100,000 tons per yr; Agromin’s compost operation at Ormond Seaside, composting about 50,000 tons per yr; Peach Hill Soils close to Moorpark, composting almost 20,000 tons per yr; American Soil Modification Merchandise close to Simi Valley, composting over 4,000 tons per yr; and the Ojai Valley Sanitary District, composting lower than 200 tons per yr.

Not counting sewage sludge, however counting all of the organics at present coming into Ventura County organics services permitted to simply accept materials from elsewhere, Ventura County might have over half one million tons of capability per yr to show materials into compost and mulch. With a possible upcoming lack of capability at Ormond Seaside, and with a want of most recycling coordinators to divert the fabric from Simi Valley Landfill to native composters as a substitute of hauling it to Kern County, even the almost 300,000 tons of capability coming on-line by the brand new Limoneira venture is not going to be enough.

Agromin expects to open its Mountain View Meals Waste Processing Facility in Oxnard this yr, and facility planners hope to mash over 100,000 tons of residential and business meals waste, sending it to different areas for use as animal feed or made into bioenergy or compost. A lot of this incoming complete, nevertheless, will come from choose business masses in adjoining counties. Making animal feed requires fastidiously chosen inputs, and residential meals scraps are too unpredictable. This facility will add some native capability, however will even require new composting capability, as a result of want for switch of fabric collected there however unsuitable for animal feed.

As a result of the accepted enlargement of Limoneira doesn’t remedy Ventura County’s compost capability wants, one other facet of the board of supervisors’ motion final week can also be important. Previous to the board’s motion, business composting was restricted from overlaying prime agricultural soils; permitting the composting venture to go ahead at Limoneira required approval of a zoning modification. Fairly than permitting simply the conversion of the venture’s 70 acres, the board allowed as much as 200 acres of comparable agricultural land countywide to be transformed.

Athens Companies, which can be considered a competitor of Agromin’s mother or father firm, Harrison Industries, has been contemplating potential websites for composting in Ventura County, based on Rondi Guthrie, vp of presidency affairs. Athens Companies, which recycles the organics from Thousand Oaks and Santa Paula, could also be a beneficiary of the zoning modification initiated by the venture accepted final week.

By decreasing long-haul transportation, improvement of native compost services will cut back air pollution and reduce a possible rise in charges wanted to handle the brand new stream of rotting recyclables. Additionally, native services will make compost and mulch extra out there to native residents. In actual fact, the Limoneira venture is required to offer at the very least 60% of produced compost to agricultural customers.

Corporations plan to speculate thousands and thousands of {dollars} in Ventura County, finishing up plans to enhance the setting by higher dealing with our natural discards. These plans rely on us to recycle our meals scraps, lumber and yard clippings.

Ventura County Environmental Useful resource Analyst David Goldstein could be reached at 805-658-4312 or david.goldstein@ventura.org.

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