Health officials put EKO on notice, Lewiston Tribune, Feb. 13, 2016
[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]DEQ tells compost company it is in violation for not having site cleaned by Jan. 31 deadline
Public health officials have notified EKO Compost the company is in violation of a Jan. 31 deadline to remove compost, an office trailer and other items from its site near the base of the Lewiston Hill.
As of Friday, no decision had been made about if penalties will be issued, said Mike Camin, engineering manager for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality’s Lewiston regional office. “We were not overly interested in penalties. We’re interested in ensuring appropriate site closure.”
EKO has been at the site where it processed yard waste and leftovers from sewage treatment plants for more than two decades. It is leaving because it lost an agreement with the city of Lewiston to process those materials.
Another company, Clearwater Composting, part of Latah Sanitation, has assumed those tasks and has opened at an industrial area in East Lewiston.
Rick Truby, EKO’s general manager in Lewiston, acknowledged Friday in a telephone interview that EKO still has to move about 10,000 cubic yards of material that’s a mix of dirt, mud and compost. Doing so should happen by the end of February, Truby said.
The compost is too diluted to be sold and is being taken to the Asotin County Regional Landfill where it will eventually be a top layer at that facility, Truby said.
The office trailer and a scale also mentioned in the violation letter have been purchased by an Orofino man and are scheduled to be moved Monday, Truby said.
Heavy rain and mud complicated the closure, Truby said.
“We were in violation mainly because of the time period, not because of anything else,” he said. “We had to have it all out of there, but because of the weather, that pushed us back in time.”
Truby sent a letter to Public Health-Idaho North Central District, the agency that sent the violation on Monday. Truby’s letter mentioned the removal date for the trailer and scale, but set no time frame for all the material to be off the site. The district sent its own letter on Thursday, describing EKO’s response as inadequate and requesting dates no later than Tuesday.
The district isn’t the only government agency watching EKO carefully. Port of Lewiston commissioners discussed the district action at their meeting Friday, which EKO officials didn’t attend.
EKO’s lease with the port for the site expired at the end of January and the port plans to bill EKO for February. Commissioner Jerry Klemm said it felt as if EKO was not showing the port respect.
As EKO works to leave the North Lewiston site, it has opened a retail site to sell compost at 2231 Second Ave. N. in Lewiston. More products will be added in upcoming months and no compost processing will happen there, Truby said.
Williams may be contacted at [email protected] or (208) 848-2261.