LETTER: Local governments should consider new bio-energy industries

By Contributor
January 22nd, 2012

To the Editor: 

Articles exploring ways to treat wastewater show there is excellent potential for the Boundary area to support a viable bio-energy production undertaking. Such a project would have many spin-off benefits for both the people of the Boundary and the quality of the water in the Kettle River.   A few years ago the Regional District of the Kootenay Boundary commissioned a study to determine the feasibility of raising hemp in the Boundary area. The results of the study indicated that such was not feasible.  However, growing short-term woody crops (e.g. cottonwood and/or willow) might well be a viable and very economically beneficial project for the Boundary area. It certainly would be less controversial.   While the sewage from Midway, Greenwood and Grand Forks is treated, it still flows into the Kettle River and does not enhance the quality of the water therein. It costs significant money to conduct proper sewage treatment and, if equal or nearly equal costs were involved in applying the effluent to produce woody crops instead—- with a positive financial return there-from there would be winners all around.   With increasing warming trends and the related reduced flows in the Kettle River, the capacity of the River to adequately absorb and dilute the treated sewage may be inadequate in the near future.   I, therefore, suggest that Grand Forks, Greenwood, Midway and the RDKB collaborate to support the development of a feasibility study to determine if a bio-energy industry as described in these articles is a viable one for the Boundary area. Several contacts for additional information are included in Tony Kryzanowski’s article, Using wastewater to irrigate short rotation crops delivers dual dividend .   Midway has significant agricultural land holdings which they have been working for years to develop into a profitable business enterprise. Perhaps growing woody biomass crops would be such a project. There are also extensive agricultural lands spread throughout the Boundary that could be dedicated to producing bio-energy crops.   The Boundary area has a significant competitive advantage favorable to a successful biomass production industry which is its proximity to both the Kettle Falls and Castlegar power production facilities. And, International Forest Products Ltd.’s proposed cogeneration project is still a possibility which, if it happened, would significantly help ensure the profitability of a biomass production industry.   This project appears to be worthy of further investigation.   Yours truly,  Fred Marshall    Midway Other articles referred by Fred Marshall: Springdale Wash Biomass project Dec 2011Willows Poplars thrive on treated waste water Dec 2011


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