Compost company faces deadline to get operations off of property owned by the Port of Lewiston
By JOEL MILLS of the Tribune
A deadline to clear its operation off Port of Lewiston land is fast approaching, but the manager for EKO Compost said he will get the job done.
“We’re accomplishing it as we speak,” Rick Truby said Tuesday. “We’ve sold our shop, and we’re moving product.”
EKO’s lease with the port expires Dec. 31, but Assistant Port Manager Jaynie Bentz said a clause in its contract gives the company an extra 30 days to clear “personal property” off the site after that.
The composting business has to complete an approved closure plan with Public Health Idaho – North Central District that includes removal of any concrete pads and other infrastructure, along with product and buildings. And even though such items remained on the site this week, Bentz said the port isn’t speculating about what will happen if EKO doesn’t meet the deadline.
“At this point, I don’t know that anybody is willing to play the ‘what if’ game, unless we have to,” she said. “Right now, they’ve assured us that they’ll meet the requirements of the health district. They have to adhere not to just our lease agreement, but the closure plan.”
Truby said the company has between 12,000 and 13,000 yards of compost remaining. It is in the process of moving it to a storage site near Lewiston Waste Management’s landfill on the Lewiston Hill.
Truby will continue to sell the compost from a lot on Second Avenue North in North Lewiston starting in a few weeks. That site can only hold about 500 yards of compost at a time, so he said it will be replenished as needed from the stockpile on the Lewiston Hill.
“If history runs like it should, that would give us roughly a year and a half of product to sell,” he said.
If the operation is successful, the company has the option of hauling in compost from its Missoula, Mont., branch in the future. EKO will also continue to deliver large orders by truck.
Truby said odor shouldn’t be a problem at the new site because only finished product will be sold there.
“In its finished state, our compost has a good, earthy smell,” he said. “So there should be no odor complaints or odor issues whatsoever.”
Complaints about the odor generated by compost processing helped prompt the port to not extend EKO’s lease and have it clear off its land by the end of the year. Sherise Jurries, a senior environmental health specialist with Public Health Idaho, said the EKO closure plan was amended recently to reflect the Jan. 31 date, rather than Dec. 31, and everything appears to be on schedule.
“The only thing we require after Jan. 31 is a final certification from the facility that it has been closed according to their approved closure plan, and that’s required by March 1,” Jurries said.
Bentz said having that plan fulfilled completely is crucial to the port’s development of its Harry Wall industrial park, and the eventual sale or lease of the land to a new business.
“Obviously, it’s timed with EKO exiting,” she said of the planning process. “And some of that is left in the air until we know that the state signs off. Nobody wants to move forward until we can get the sign-off.”
Mills may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2266.