Holly M. Gill
The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality is preparing to issue a composting permit for a local business - High Desert Organix.
High Desert Organix plans to build a composting facility about 3 1/2 miles southeast of Madras, near the junction of Southeast Grizzly Road and Southeast Darwin Lane.
The partnership was issued a permit by the DEQ for a location off Cherry Lane, east of U.S. Highway 97, in 2010, but has yet to construct a facility at that location.
High Desert Organix has been working through the land-use process to build a composting facility for at least the past five years.
The facility would handle materials such as seed and mint screenings, wood chips, yard debris and manure, which would be converted into compost.
The DEQ noted that potential health impacts from the facility would be primarily from excessive dust; potential environmental impacts "would primarily include air contamination from emissions from the composting process, surface or groundwater contamination from leachate (liquids) generated from the composting process, and the disbursement of pathogens by vectors, including birds and insects."
The proposed facility is on the same property where a confined animal feeding operation, permitted by the Oregon Department of Agriculture, is located.