The Grand Forks Environment Committee looks at city’s green initiatives

The Grand Forks Environment Committee met to discuss air quality, water sustainability and carbon neutrality on June 21.

The Grand Forks Environment Committee met on June 21 to discuss issues surrounding air quality, water sustainability and carbon neutrality.

Currently working to become a greener city, the City of Grand Forks and City Works have been working on several initiatives to lower its carbon emissions.

Wayne Kopan, manager of environmental and building construction services, noted that the city has to take over all carbon neutral programs 100 per cent.

“Before we were in partnership with the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) on the carbon neutral project, but we now have to go into it individually,” he said. “I just contacted a fellow in Victoria and they are updating all of our data and will be sending us a smart tool that will be recording all of our information locally.”

This year, projects have included solar energy work in the campgrounds in City Park.

“There is now solar hot water running, which has now neutralized the heating of water at the campgrounds,” Kopan said.

City Works has also been using MC2 Soiltac distribution for dust control in the city’s alleys, lanes and parking lots.

MC2 is a company that sells an oil suppression product that is activated by water or the rain.

“From everything that we’ve got about the product, it helps a lot with the environment and we haven’t heard anything contrary about it,” Kopan explained.

Along with cleaning the streets, Kopan pointed out that the city has done a 25 per cent reduction on field consumption of fuel and emissions while working.

That was done by having staff double up in vehicles, not taking large units to do small jobs, and better planning for the crews.

“We also have the kitchen wastes project which is gearing up,” he said. “It’s proven to be a very successful program and we’re now implementing this in October city-wide. That will help reduce our waste going into landfills by 40 to 50 per cent.”

Kopan added that the waste disposal is turned into compost and in turn, being used as ground cover for the landfills.

The kitchen waste green bin project began in January of this year as a pilot project in the Valmar area in Grand Forks.

Kopan also added that the lighting, heating and energy efficiency for city buildings is another project that is under way but will take a few years.

The committee discussed the new nephelometer study, in which they hired a summer student, Jordan Andrews, to look at and study the air quality in Grand Forks.

They also looked at updates for the Woodstove Exchange Program, air quality bylaws, water metering, well closure bylaw recommendation and the Kootenay Carbon Neutral Action Strategy, and the city’s role.