UFFAB funds increased-capacity composting facility

Julia Rentsch

At their annual project funding meeting, the University Facility Fee Advisory Board voted Thursday to grant in full Facilities Management’s request for funding to put toward the development of a windrow composting system at the Colorado State University Foothills Campus.

A diagram of the proposed windrow composting facility on the Foothills Campus, which will allow for complete composting of all dining hall waste on campus (400,000 lbs/year). Photo courtesy of Facilities Management.
A diagram of the proposed windrow composting facility on the Foothills Campus, which will allow for complete composting of all dining hall waste on campus (400,000 pounds per year). (Photo courtesy of Facilities Management.)

Official notice was sent to applicants Tuesday morning.

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Permits for the project still need to be acquired, but the $274,300 of UFFAB money will help with site preparation, planning and equipment costs.

The new composting facility would provide considerably more space for composting food waste, grounds waste, livestock manure, EcoProducts compostable dish-ware and other material.

“It’s an incredible step forward, and the fact that the student body voted for this just demonstrates how much they value sustainability,” said Tim Broderick, the senior sustainability coordinator for Housing and Dining Services. “I’m exited to see where it heads.”

According to the proposal, CSU Dining Services generates approximately 63 cubic yards of food waste per week during the academic year, about 30 percent of which is currently composted in CSU’s in-vessel composter, which is running at capacity. With the addition of a windrow composting facility, the proposal says 100 percent of Dining Services’ food waste will be able to be composted.

Members of the University Facility Fee Advisory Board listen to a proposal for expanded university composting. Photo credit: Julia Rentsch
Members of the University Facility Fee Advisory Board listen to a proposal for expanded University composting. (Photo Credit: Julia Rentsch.)

Additionally, there will be room for composting food waste from the Lory Student Center, game-day waste from Moby Arena and the stadium and restroom paper towels from various locations around campus.

Suzanne Cordery, an environmental engineer with Facilities Management who was part of the project proposal to the UFFAB, said that the process of acquiring permits for this project should go smoothly.

Cordery said that the first round of permitting, which is internal to CSU and involves permission from the Student Fee Review Board and the Vice President of University Operations, among others, should fully secure the funding by the end of May.

County and state approval, however, are in a state of flux and are “a little bit in question,” she said.

Operating costs of this facility are listed as about $100,000 per year. Housing and Dining Services would cover $18,000 worth, which is the same amount they currently pay for food waste disposal. Food waste that is not composted is currently disposed of at the City of Fort Collins wastewater treatment plant. 

According to Cordery, if necessary permits are acquired, construction on the facility should begin in the fall, and it would begin to function in early 2017.

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Collegian Reporter Julia Rentsch can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @julia_rentsch.