The future of FOGO in the Bega Valley is being opened up to private investor interest.
Bega Valley Shire Council said the huge success of the food and organic composting service had seen it grow beyond the capacity of its current processing site at Merimbula.
The above-capacity volumes being handled at the current site were among the reasons for a recent "show cause" notice issued by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority.
Under an environment protection licence issued by the NSW EPA, council is restricted to receiving no more than 5000 tonnes of organics at the site annually.
However, council's operations records show that the facility is taking close to double that volume given its popularity and success across the shire since its inception four years ago.
Council will soon call for expressions of interest to build and operate a new FOGO processing plant at the Central Waste Facility (CWF) near Wolumla.
Waste services manager Alan Gundrill said the move was designed to attract experienced operators "with a vision of growing and improving a local composting service".
"Councillors made two key decisions recently regarding the future of FOGO in the Bega Valley," Mr Gundrill said.
"The first was to open the temporary outsourcing of organics processing to a competitive tender process, and the second was to invite expressions of interest from experienced operators to design, construct, operate and maintain an organics processing facility at the CWF.
"This will ensure continuation of FOGO processing at a suitable site while a new facility is being constructed.
"When the new facility is ready, FOGO processing will move to its new permanent home at the CWF where an external operator will be able to build on the foundations of our council-run service."
Mr Gundrill said the new facility will have enough space for the local FOGO service to grow and improve.
"The popularity of FOGO means we have outgrown its current home at the Merimbula Waste Transfer Station and we need to move the service to a more suitable site within the shire," Mr Gundrill said.
"Our goal is to provide a fantastic product for the community using the experience of an industry leader and a processing facility purpose-built in a suitable location.
"Composting our food and garden organic waste locally is important to us and our customers because it shows how waste can become a valuable resource, with the ability to produce positive local outcomes.
"That connection between filling the green-lid bin with food and garden organics and picking up a trailer-load of locally produced compost is pretty powerful for many people in our community. We want to keep it that way which is why we are advocating for an outsourced service at a council-owned facility.
"While a new processing plant is designed and constructed, we are keen to explore temporary off-site arrangements for our organics to ease the burden on our Merimbula site.
"We have been planning a move to the CWF for a number of years and it's great to be taking the project to this important next stage."
The Central Waste Facility is only open to approved commercial customers. No public access is permitted.
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