FLINT, MI — A city contractor has started turning massive compost piles at the old Chevy in the Hole site, a key step in removing debris and creating usable compost for what officials hope will eventually become a new public park. Resource Recycling Services started work Tuesday, June 17, showing off a windrowing machine that turns over the compost to bring buried portions to the surface to produce aeration to quicken the composting process.
“Plans for the site will include laying a layer of topsoil down over the cement and growing trees over it as part of what is known as phytoremediation, a method that cleans soil through natural plant-growing processes,” according to a news release from the city. “This work will contribute to the final green space and park, which will be known as ‘Chevy Commons’.”
The statement from the city warns that a byproduct of the process is a smell like topsoil or rotting leaves. Flint Journal files say the site, used to store yard waste from 2009 until 2012, is home to about 100,000 cubic yards of material. State law requires that such large-scale composting operations result in material being moved off the site after three years of operation.
“Once sufficient turning and composting has occurred, a sifting machine will be brought on site to remove large pieces of debris, such as sticks and other objects,” the city news release says. “What is left from the process will be topsoil, the first 11,000 cubic yards of which can be reincorporated as a soil cap for the site.”
Work at the site will take place throughout the summer to continually turn the compost and keep it at a uniform consistency, the statement says. Emergency manager Darnell Earley approved a resolution in September 2013 to allow for a $330,000, two-year contract with Resource Recycling. An explanation of the need for the contract with Resource Recycling is posted on the city’s Web site along with Earley’s resolution.
“The current condition of the compost site is in direct violation of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act,” the document says. “The city must expeditiously take action to remediate the existing conditions at the site to bring the site into regulatory compliance.”