Reclamation of Pennask Pit

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Regional District of Central Okanagan and Metro Vancouver

The Regional District of Central Okanagan (RDCO) contracted SYLVIS to undertake an assessment of short and long term biosolids management options.  Several potential biosolids land application opportunities resulted, including land application of biosolids for reclamation at Pennask Pit, a gravel extraction area located approximately two kilometers north of Highway 97C and 35 kilometers west of West Kelowna.  The Pit area encompasses approximately 30 hectares of total area, 17 hectares of which has been prescribed for biosolids application and reclamation.  The remaining 13 hectares remain active for aggregate extraction.

The long term management goal for Pennask Pit is to rehabilitate the site through the establishment and sustained growth of native trees.  Traditionally reclamation projects of this scale have been accomplished by sourcing and applying topsoil to the closed portions of the aggregate pit.  This practice is extremely costly and was not plausible at the Pennask Pit site due to a lack of topsoil in the region.

To date the site has accepted a total of approximately 7,000 bulk tonnes of biosolids from two sources: the Regional District of Central Okanagan and North West Langley.  The biosolids have been applied using SYLVIS owned equipment and deep incorporated with a custom built, tractor mounted, tined incorporation unit specifically designed for spent aggregate pit terrain and characteristics.  The unit allows for deep, even and thorough incorporation to a depth between 0.3 - 0.45 m.

The application of biosolids to this site has increased nutrient and organic matter concentrations, improving the water holding capacity of the soil and promoting the establishment and sustainability of vegetation on site.

SYLVIS manages all aspects of the project including land application development, public consultation and all associated operational logistics, specifically: providing access to the site throughout the year, stockpiling, application, incorporation and seeding.