The Evergreen Metropolitan District and Denver Mountain Parks are studying a proposal that uses the Evergreen trash transfer station to bring back the compost operation that the district operated in conjunction with Green Acres Nursery in Golden for 10 years.
Composting is a way to re-use tree material that would otherwise go into a landfill and turn it into mulch appropriate for general garden applications. The joint venture with Green Acres ended five or six years ago.
“We think there’s a lot of benefit for the community,” said Gerry Schulte, executive director of the Evergreen Metropolitan District. “We have beetle kill and cuttings, most of which get thrown in the trash. This would allow it to be re-used right here in Evergreen.”
The idea is still in the early stages and would have to go through public hearings and a permitting process if an agreement can be worked out with the parties involved, including the Bureau of Land Management.
The composting project was a success and a moneymaker in the sense that it saved the water district the cost of hauling sludge to the landfill on Colorado 93.
At the time, the compost project was a joint venture of the garden center, which provided the wood chips from local tree trimmers, and the water district, which contributed the product of its wastewater treatment plant.
The effort ended when the nursery decided it needed the land for a selling area. Since then, the district has exclusively used a sludge-hauling concern to dispose of about 60,000 gallons of waste per month, and sludge-hauling costs continue to go up.
“We have never given up on the idea of a compost operation,” said Mark Davidson, president of the board of directors of the Evergreen Metro District.
Mountain Parks would contribute the land and a large amount of tree refuse, and the metro district would deliver the sludge and operate the compost facility, under a proposal that has been under discussion off and on for a couple of years.
The likely site would be at the Evergreen transfer station off Highway 73, at the edge of Cub Creek Park. The transfer station was a landfill in the ‘60s and ‘70s before it became a trash transfer station.
Homeowners would be invited to use the station as a place to deposit the slash created from wildfire mitigation on their land.
“We would encourage that and would chip the wood products,” Davidson said.
The resulting product is acceptable for selling to the public, which will help offset the costs.
“We would have an outlet for the slash and the sludge, and the operation would pay for itself,” Davidson said.
The main glitch is the Bureau of Land Management. Under the deal by which Denver Mountain Parks purchased the land, the contract said it had to be used for park purposes. The BLM was OK with the compost project but not the transfer station.
“Denver wants Evergreen to manage the transfer station,” Schulte said.
He said there is plenty of plant material in the mountains for feeding the compost heap, which would be open year around.
Schulte said he used the Evergreen mixture on his lawn and was happy with the results.