Just 2 km outside Northeast of Airdrie city limits lies a serious nasal offence. A local private composting operation is seriously impacting the welfare, property values, and health of those downwind in a serious way. Rather than sending compost materials to a modern indoor facility which respects it’s neighbors, compost materials are being sent to this improperly zoned facility within a couple kilometers of Airdrie city limits, with hundreds of residents immediately downwind. On the odd occasion when the winds blow from the northeast, Airdrie residents get a brief whiff of what over 250 residents east of Airdrie have to smell on a regular basis. Over 10 truckloads per day of composting materials from slaughterhouses, grocery stores, and materials not accepted at modern indoor facilities result in what is now approximately 125,000 m2 of putrid meat, fruits, vegetables, and animal carcasses. Runoff water from this facility flows east to the Crossfield Creek and Red Deer River Watershed. As it is economically advantageous to accept putrefying materials without a multi-million dollar composting facility like the one in the City of Calgary, Thorlakson’s is now attempting to double the size of the Airdrie operation.
To see where this road leads, one only needs to think back and remember some of the smells of Strathmore, which ultimately led to that compost facilities closure. See the article here. Note that the article cites that the compost materials causing the Strathmore stench are now being shipped to Airdrie.
One of the problems inherent to open composting facilities is the mandated requirement to turn the pile of compost at least five times during its aerobic decomposition. This is 5 times more odour producing incidents than manure piles alone when they are “turned” before spreading. This facility has becoming a major nuisance to the residents in and around Airdrie due to numerous reasons:
- Pungent Smell – An extremely nauseating smell wafts over Airdrie and nearby residents if the wind is blowing in the right direction. It doesn’t smell like manure, more like rotting fish. Have a look at the “photos” section to get an idea of what might stink.
- Water Contamination – There is an extreme risk that leachate will enter the water table and ruin water sources for multitudes of homes and could cause illness or death.
- Biohazard – Compost may contain the potentially deadly Legionella bacteria. In fact, cases of legionellosis caused by Legionella bacteria in compost have been on the increase worldwide. In October 2013, a case of legionellosis linked to compost exposure was reported in Richmond, British Columbia.
- Property Values – There is concern that property values will decrease. Indeed a property is worth $0.00 if a prospective buyer comes through at the same time as the stench.
- Garbage Blowing Onto Property – Garbage blows onto nearby resident’s property from the “Nature’s Call” facility.
- Fire Hazard – The fire department has been called a number of times to the facility. Fires are more common at composting facilities than most realize. Our area gets too much wind to allow windrow composting with such a high risk of spontaneous combustion. A fire at this site could create a major hazard to neighbouring homes.
- Coyotes – In the area of surrounding acreages, multiple groups of coyotes (usually in groups of 3 or 4) are often present. Stray cats are not a problem…
- Bird Problem – Ravens and Seagulls are a persistent problem for nearby residents. Residential Garbage bags cannot be left outdoors. Birds are also leaving a terrible mess on neighbouring properties and may be spreading harmful pathogens. Birds also pose a potential risk to aircraft. Airdrie Air Park airport is approximately 5 km away.
- Rodent Problem – Rodents are feeding and breeding in the compost piles and this poses an extreme risk of spreading harmful pathogens to neighboring properties.
- Flies – Flies are breeding in the open compost and irritating neighbours. Flies also can be carriers of harmful pathogens and can fly numerous kilometers.
- Road Traffic Issues – The Thorlakson facility is registered for 20,000 tonnes per year of vegetable matter compost. This is equivalent to about 8 trucks of 10 tonne capacity per day for a 5 day week. However, vehicle counts show up to 35 trucks per day, many 20 tonne trucks with a 10 tonne pup, for days on end. In addition there are blood trucks from a nearby slaughterhouse, approximately 500 cattle paunches per day received from the slaughterhouse, on top of the many tonnes of grain and supplements coming into Thorlakson’s feedlot. Twenty thousand steers eating 5 to 10 kg of grain per day require quite a few truckloads of grain. TNC was required to pave the road from highway 567 to their facility by the county to keep road maintenance costs tolerable. Many of the compost trucks use the surrounding area rural roads instead of paved roads, simply because they can make a couple of extra trips per day if they don’t have to stop at the weigh scale on the highway at Balzac.
The letters, photos, and statements contained in this website are all matter of public record or are letters to or from public officials and can be obtained through the Freedom of Information Act or videos of public meetings. If you are a TNC representative, asking for some portion of this website to be taken down, we must politely decline, unless you provide information which we find to be more applicable and more factual than ours. Thank you for your time. You may check the Canadian Constitution Act, 1982, Part I, Para. 2(b)