PLAIN — Chelan County may get a compost center to help manage debris from its apple maggot quarantine area.
The Winton Manufacturing Company submitted the application on July 18 to build the compost center on 83.57 acres at 17400 Winton Road, which was formerly the Winton Sawmill, according to Chelan County documents. The company may also build a pellet mill to make pellet compost and some day recycle material there.
The company, which formed this year, will focus on composting for now, said Thad Schutt, Winton Manufacturing Company manager. The land is owned by the Portland-based Hampton Drying Company, but if the permit goes through Winton Manufacturing would buy the land.
It would employ about eight to 10 people at start up and grow from there, Schutt said.
The compost center would not be open to the public, Schutt said. It would instead take the material from Chelan County crews that collect material dropped off by orchardists so the material can be regulated by the county. Maggots, diseases or weed seeds would be killed through the composting process, which gets to temperatures above 140 degrees for over 20 days.
“There has been USDA studies of what it takes to kill them and it shows that composting does,” he said. “The temperatures all take care of that issue, as well as other pests and pathogens, weed seeds.”
The company may also acquire debris from other counties within the apple maggot quarantine zone, Schutt said. Any material would need to be ground before it is picked up to kill any potential maggots. It can also accept any material not in the quarantine zone as well.
The apple maggot quarantine zone is enforced by the state Department of Agriculture, which does not allow the movement of fruit or waste material from the zone to stop the spread of apple maggots. About half of Chelan County is in the apple maggot quarantine zone.
The company plans to cover the compost piles to eliminate any potential smells, he said. It will also use mufflers on its equipment to dampen noise and attempt to grind most of its material off site.
The nearest neighbors to the site are at least a quarter-mile away, he said.
“There is always concern about the smell and it is about mitigating that which is why we’re using these fabric covers during the active part of it, when you start off the process,” Schutt said. “Finished compost has an earthy smell to it and you don’t have the rotten odors.”
The company hopes to start construction in the fall of 2019 and to begin accepting organics in the spring of 2020, according to Chelan County documents. The company still needs to complete an environmental analysis, get a solid waste handling permit, get an air quality permit and complete its building permits.