The Bellevue City Council voted unanimously Monday to spend $1,765 to take part in a composting study that could save the city money by composting treated sewer sludge from its wastewater treatment facility that is typically dried and buried at Ohio Gulch.

“I think it’s worth exploring,” City Councilman Greg Cappel said.

The vote authorizes Mayor Ned Burns to enter into a “contribution agreement” with the city of Hailey to participate in a composting study by HDR Biosolids to determine whether dried sludge, or biosolids, stored in drying beds at Ohio Gulch could be composted and used as fertilizer.

“I think this will be a great opportunity for the parties involved to create a solution to an existing issue by creating a new opportunity to recycle a waste product,” Public Works Director Frank Suwanrit said in a memo to the City Council.

Ohio Gulch also stores biosolids from Hailey, Ketchum and Sun Valley, as well as a few smaller sewer companies. A recent change in policy has led to a search for alternatives to dumping the dried waste in the landfill, the memo states.

The $12,240 study that Bellevue will take part in was started as part of a wastewater facility planning study initiated by Hailey and joined by the other cities in the valley that also bring sludge to Ohio Gulch. Each city will contribute funding based on the percentage of sludge it is projected to deliver next year.

Bellevue’s contribution amounts to 15 percent of the study’s cost.

According to the agreement, Hailey contributes 38 percent of the sludge at Ohio Gulch, Ketchum and Sun Valley 45 percent and The Meadows 2 percent.

Blaine County and Quigley Farm are included in the study for fixed fees of $235 each.    

In other Bellevue news:

  • The City Council approved a letter of support from Mayor Burns to AARP Livable Communities to support a Mountain Rides application for a Challenge Grant to install signs along an established Safe Routes to School path through the city. If the grant is successful, Bellevue would only provide the staff to install the signs.

Email the writer: tevans@mtexpress.com

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