If odours around Duke Point industrial park are traced to a Nanaimo composting facility, authorities say the consequences won't likely be as harsh of those for a central Saanich food waste recycling plant this week.
The Capital Regional District pulled Foundation Organics Ltd.'s operating licence That facility composts food and other organic waste collected in the CRD.
Saanich residents' complaints about excessive odours led to the closure. The Regional District of Nanaimo is now collecting data on at the International Composting Corporation plant at Duke Point after Cedar residents complained about smells.
But senior RDN staff members say even if ICC is found to be the source of odours, it isn't likely to lead to a licence suspension.
But the RDN does have the authority to do so. Their operating licence requires them to not allow any smells extend beyond the property line.
"We have the ability to cancel their licence if we saw there was a problem and they say: 'We're not willing to fix it,'" said Carey McIver, solid waste manager, RDN Environmental Services.
Alec McPherson, RDN director for Area A, raised the issue of unpleasant industrial smells wafting into Cedar at the regional board level in March. That led to the board supporting the hiring a professional sniffer to identify the source.
McPherson could not be reached for comment, and the study is not yet finished. A report is expected soon.
"That will be completed at the end of the month, with a report to the board in September or October," said McIver.
She said the Harmac pulp mill may well be responsible for at least some of the odour reports made by Cedar residents, and testing is expected to clarify the sources of those smells.
And if ICC is identified as the source, "I don't think it's anything anywhere near the magnitude of Foundation Organics," McIver said. "The important thing to remember is the two facilities are very different."
ICC is on land zoned for industrial use. Foundation is on agricultural land, which allows composting but not at an industrial scale. ICC has enclosed indoor waste storage and everything goes straight into processing drums daily, McIver said.
Dave Knox, ICC chief operating officer, said he has no new concerns about the Nanaimo plant, following the closure of the Saanich facility.
"We have a very good relationship (with the RDN) and if there are any concerns, we will address them," Knox said.
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