Gypsum ready to recycle sludge |

Gypsum ready to recycle sludge

Kathy Heicher
Gypsum, CO Colorado

GYPSUM, Colorado ” Call it a sludge solution.

The town of Gypsum wants to relocate a composting operation from its subdivision-surrounded sewer plant to the American Gypsum mine north of town.

The permit, which the Eagle County commissioners will review March 31, will allow the town to haul the sludge a relatively short distance (about a mile north of the I-70 interchange) to an unpopulated area. Once the sludge from the sewer plant is converted into compost, the material will be used for re-vegetating the gypsum mine.

“It’s a good fit for both of us,” said Stephen Onorofski, manager of the American Gypsum Company mine.

The new composting plant would be located on a 3.2 acresof land at the mine. Dump trucks would be used to haul sludge from the sewer plant, which is located in the middle of the Eagle River Estates subdivision. The materials will be mixed with wood chips, and will be further treated and converted into compost. Any compost material not used for re-vegetation will be used by the town or sold to landscapers.

Town officials say composting keeps the sewer plant’s waste out of landfills and is recycled into a useful product. Gypsum Public Works Director Jeff Shreeve said the new composting location woudl also be a money-saver for the town, although the actual numbers are not yet available. Currently, the town pays to have the sludge trucked to the Climax mine rehabilitation site near Leadville.

The town processes about 100 dry metric tons of sludge per year. When the plant demand is at full capacity, that number will increase to 200 dry metric tons annually.

The new composting site would require about 15 dump truck trips per month on the three-mile stretch between the sewer plant and the mine.

The town does have composting equipment at the sewer plant, but neighboring property owners objected to the odors.

The town has negotiated a 10-year lease for the compost site, with an option to renew.

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