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Billings landfill plans to turn human poo into perfect topsoil – Brospar Daily News

BILLINGS – In Billings, yard waste and human waste that is flushed down the toilet ends up in the Billings Landfill. As the landfill fills up, it takes up critical airspace, but that’s about to change thanks to the city’s planned new $2.5 million composting program.

The composting project will be located south of the current landfill, in a vacant lot across Hillcrest Road. The piles of biosolids that are already being trucked to landfills every day land on the concrete slabs of the compost site as soon as they rise.

“Biosolids is a fancy word for feces from sewage treatment plants,” said Kyle Foreman, solid waste supervisor for Billings Public Works.

The idea is to divert 3-6 truckloads of human waste a day from the Billings landfill to a compost pile across the road.

The project is divided into two phases, Foreman said, with the first phase processing up to 25,000 tons of compostable material. Although it may look like a pile of manure, the tonnage will also include 12,000 tonnes of garden waste and double that capacity in the second phase.

“If I can pull these 12,000 tonnes of stuff and move it here (to the compost yard), it’s a 12,000 tonne garage with access to the same amount of air space, so the facility can be kept there instead of across the street,” the foreman said.

According to Billings Public Works, composting will extend the life of landfills by a decade, a big step toward one day accepting food waste from residents and restaurants, which is already happening in cities across the state.

“We’re different from Bozeman, Missoula and Helena, which is great, but we have to understand that it’s not an inexhaustible resource. It’s going to fill up,” Foreman said of Billings’ discharge.

Bozeman-based Eco-Montana distributes compostable take-out boxes to hundreds of restaurants across the state, but in Billings the list is very short.

“In Billings, we send stuff to Well Pared. I know the compost is not up and running and that’s no big deal, so hopefully that will change soon,” said Nekheitinois, Montana Eco’s eco-horse leader.

The landfill project will go to tender this fall, with construction in winter or early spring. Once it works, it only takes two weeks to turn the poo into perfect topsoil.

“This is an excellent garden correction. If you’re a gardener, that’s your thing,” Foreman says.

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