Just a minute or two drive away from the Karlstad city shop and water tower— through a wooded area— one will find three homes separated by cement blocks out in an open area. These homes don’t include a roof, tall walls, and are not inhabited most of the time by people. What are these homes exactly?
They are the homes for the piles of compost material at the Karlstad Compost Site— now separated into three defined cells by cement blocks. They are distinguished from one another by not only the blocks, but also signage. One pile is for stumps and logs, a second one for branches, brush, and leaves, and a third one for grass clippings and garden waste.
“It (getting these cement blocks) was kind of to separate it, I guess, so it’s easier (for) burning,” city maintenance worker Mark Olson said. “The brush and the leaves, it’ll be easier to burn that instead of having green garden waste mixed in with the big stumps and dirt. Then you can get the pile burnt very clean.”
The city bought these cement blocks from Davidson Construction and had them brought in on three semi-loads a few weeks ago. It may have installed these blocks a few weeks ago, but the city has “always” had a brush pile in this area, Olson explained.
When each cell gets full, the city will go out there and push it up with a payloader to make for more room.
As for burning, the city doesn’t do any burning of this material when it’s too dry of if a burning ban is in place. It does burning when it can and when it is safe to do so, having no set schedule. Sometimes it will have the fire department burn the compost, but the city generally burns it on its own. When deciding when to burn, the city does monitor if the area will have a south wind for two to three days, so the smoke will blow north out of town.
The city will burn the brush pile for numerous years until it gets to be dirt that won’t burn. At that time, the city just buries what’s left with the backhoe to open up a fresh site, Olson explained.
As for another improvement at the compost site, the city had Ottertail Power Company put up a couple cameras in this area this past spring.
To see the complete story, read the July 15 issue of the North Star News in print or online.