DOE pulls plug on West Sound biosolids project

West Sound Utility District Plant Manager John Poppe displays a sample of Class B biosolid from the district’s Port Orchard treatment center Friday.   - Tad Sooter/North Kitsap Herald
West Sound Utility District Plant Manager John Poppe displays a sample of Class B biosolid from the district’s Port Orchard treatment center Friday.
— image credit: Tad Sooter/North Kitsap Herald

The state Department of Ecology has tossed out a controversial proposal to spread wastewater biosolids on a field in Hansville.
West Sound Utility District, which provides water and wastewater services in South Kitsap, applied for a permit to use Class B biosolids to fertilize a hay field in Hansville. Biosolids are divided into two classes.
Class B biosolids are certified to be free of 99 percent of potential pathogens.
In Class A biosolids, potential pathogens are removed to undetectable levels.
Representatives from Olympic Property Group, which owns the former tree farm proposed for biosolid use, said the company would only allow the district to use Class A biosolids on the site, according to a Friday email from State Biosolids Coordinator Daniel Thompson.
“The decision by the landowner renders the proposal moot because West Sound Utilities District currently produces only Class B biosolids,” Thompson wrote. “Thus, the Department of Ecology is hereby withdrawing the proposal from consideration.”
The decision doesn’t block the district from trucking Class A biosolid to the property.
West Sound considered importing biosolids from other districts until it received Class A certification for its own product.
But West Sound Plant Manager John Poppe said it’s now doubtful the district will pursue the project in the North End.
Instead it may work with Christmas tree farmers to apply biosolid elsewhere in the county.
Poppe said the district wanted to use the Hansville property to demonstrate how biosolids could be responsibly disposed of while supporting agriculture.
West Sound trucks most of its biosolids to farms in Onalaska.
More than 80 percent of biosolids produced in Washington are applied to fields.
“We wanted to make it a showcase of how biosolids can have value to a community if its done right,” Poppe said.
West Sound’s Hansville proposal riled many neighbors of the property in the Shorewoods and Driftwood Key developments. About 60 residents filled a Greater Hansville Area Advisory Council meeting March 8 for a presentation by West Sound on the project.
With the proposal stalled, neighbors are turning their attention to preserving the 144-acre property, community organizer Joyce Hart said.
Hart assembled a list of about 100 concerned residents while discussing ways of buying the property and preserving it for community garden projects or inclusion in the Hansville Greenway.
The former tree farm is listed at $1.3 million and has been for sale for about a year.
“We’re vulnerable,” Hart said. “This sits right in the middle

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