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Waterloo Park installs 'zoo poo units' to capture animal waste, divert it from landfills

Waste from the Eby Farmstead will be re-used as compost at area farm, city officials say

Joe Pavia · CBC News · Posted: Jul 18, 2019 5:00 AM ET

City workers collect 117 pounds of manure from the Waterloo zoo on a daily basis and store it in two in-ground containers that are six cubic yards. (Joe Pavia/CBC)

The City of Waterloo has installed two in-ground waste containers that will collect manure from the Eby Farmstead and ship it to a local farmer who will use it as compost.


City workers collect 117 pounds of manure from the Waterloo zoo on a daily basis.


Rhonda Fetterly is with the City of Waterloo Environment and Parks Department. She said the "zoo poo units" can hold up to 454 kilograms of manure, which is collected every nine days before it's sent off for delivery.


These in-ground waste containers made by Sutera of Waterloo work differently than the company's dog waste units, which convert waste into energy.


"It's because of the amount of straw and bedding," said Fetterly. "It doesn't decompose the same way as well. Yes, it's actually much better off as compost that will then be given back to farmers or wherever the end result will be."


The city had previously shipped the manure to local farms, but Fetterly said new regulations meant that was no longer feasible. Another plan to ship the manure to the St. Jacobs Farmers Market became costly.


"Then we also at times, sadly, ended up having to take it up to the landfill without any other options," said Fetterly.

"[Now, the manure] is going to a local farm and will be mixed in with their livestock waste and composted."


Like the dog waste units, there is minimal smell as the waste is stored underground in a unit of concrete and steel.


The city spent about $19,000 on both units.