LOGAN – The saga of Logan city’s homeless sludge site is finally over.
Thanks to a conditional use permit (CUP) approved by the Logan Planning Commission on June 10, a composting site for the treatment of biosolid wastes will be constructed on 17 acres of city property adjacent to the city’s regional water treatment plant along Hwy 30 west of Logan.
City planner Russ Holly explained that the new facility will include a green waste drop-off point and an area of aerated static piles where biosolid wastes will be converted into agricultural compost.
The site will also feature a community garden, a 1600 square-foot barn and landscaping berms for visual buffering from passing motorists and for aesthetic purposes.
During the commission meeting, city officials argued that their new proposed site was ideal for the much-maligned composting facility.
Given that the biggest public concern about the facility was over the potential for unpleasant odors from the composting process, the city’s plan emphasized that this site was more than a mile from the nearest business or residence within city limits.
Since the composting site is also 500 feet from 200 North Street (Hwy 30), city officials said that space will provide ample opportunities to mitigate the facility’s visual impact with strategic landscaping and surrounding berms.
They also predicted that the community garden would provide a place for residents to mingle and grow produce, while the adjacent barn becomes a local landmark and a welcoming entry feature to the city from the west.
After weeks of public controversy, the CUP for the compositing site was approved by members of the planning commission with minimal fuss.
Logan officials had originally sought county approval to rezone a city-owned 47-acre parcel of land at 1400 North and 3200 West in Benson for the composting facility.
After that idea was condemned by Benson residents and rejected by the Cache County Council, city officials reluctantly followed the suggestions of many critics that “Logan should build the composting site in its own backyard.”
The additional cost of following that advice will be an estimated $1.5 million, according to Logan Environmental Director Issa Hamud.
During a Logan City Council meeting in May, Hamud explained that the proposed site in Benson had been selected because it was the least expensive option for city planners.
Fully developing the alternative site adjacent to the wastewater treatment plant will eventually involve mitigating nearby wetlands, he emphasized.
Under the U.S. Clean Water Act, federal agencies require mitigation for the disturbance or destruction of wetlands, streams or the habitats of endangered species.
Such mitigation is usually accomplished by preserving, enhancing, restoring or creating wetlands, streams or conservation areas that offset adverse impacts to similar nearby ecosystems. To serve the public interest, federal agencies often require that the mitigation area be up to three times the size of the area actually adversely impacted.
At such a three-to-one ratio, Hamud said that Logan may be required to mitigate up to 15 acres of land at a cost between $1 million and $1.5 million.
Given that unanticipated expense, Hamud warned that the city may be obliged to consider increased fees for environmental services starting in 2022.