Winter Update

People have asked lately about what is new at Dirt Hugger. Here goes (plus photos below):

New Site – Dallesport – We are 71% (as far as the budget goes) with construction. While good, it leaves a very big 29% remaining. Still left on the plate are some important facility features: 1) Power to all areas 2) Aeration in the ponds (this is very important for odor reduction) 3) Aeration pad (also extremely important for odor reduction). 4) Fresh-potable water (something we never had at the old site) 5) A shop for fixing equipment… and the list goes on….. So, while we are operating we don’t have all of our enhanced odor reduction technology in place and we are very appreciative of all of our neighbors’ patience while we finish them up this spring.

What we have done in the past few months has been to chip away daily at getting the site to first world standards and full functionality. Such as: 1) Bring power to the site (Thank you Klickitat County and Klickitat PUD!) 2) Drilling a well (thank you Klickitat County and M&K Drilling) – although we still haven’t connected the well, it’s nice to know we’ve hit water 3) Installed irrigation for our landscaped berms 4) Paved the entrance and the list goes on….

new site - paving the entrance

new site – paving the entrance

 

 

 

new site - well drilling

new site – well drilling

new site - well drilling

new site – well drilling

new site- power!

new site- power!

new site- installing power

new site- installing power

 

Old site – The Dalles – Our old site is nearly wrapped up. It is quite sad to see the place where a group of people toiled for four years disappear. We fondly remember our old site and all of the painful lessons learned there. We have 2.5 acres of compost left at the old site have been screening it daily for the past two months. Many of our amazing customers agreed to take compost early in order to prevent double hauling compost. Thank you so much to our retailers and customers. If you would like an early delivery of compost please get in touch. We’d be happy to send you a load as we will be clearing out all compost from the old site in the next few weeks. Huge thanks to Crestline Construction and Port of The Dalles for accommodating us during the transition.

old site- last windrow leaving the pad

old site- last windrow leaving the pad

old site- the pad is empty- no compost left

old site- the pad is empty- no compost left

old site- pond emptied

old site- pond emptied

where the old site was

where the old site was

old site- what's left

old site- what’s left

old site - removing the pad

old site – removing the pad

old site - final grind

old site – final grind

old site- removing the pad

old site- removing the pad

New faces/team members. We are happy to have added to the Dirt Hugger roster. Will Hartman has joined the team to help us power through the last phase of construction. Will has years of experience in carpentry and construction and has already made progress on the new site. Other additions are the immensely time-saving golf cart and the soon to be used street sweeper.

street sweeper

street sweeper

golf cart and will in background

golf cart and Will in background

A sad loss has beset Dirt Hugger, the engine on our beloved 1981 VW pickup truck bit the dust at the tender age of 200K miles. Not to worry, we have imported a new/used engine from Germany and hope to have it back on the road in a jiffy.

the caddy - dead

the caddy – dead

the new/used engine

the new/used engine

Curbside Program – We have received lots of phone calls lately with regards to the commercial food scraps collection program. There was a minor hiccup due to truck licensing (intrastate vs interstate is a big deal in CDL driving) during our transition to Washington, however, the program is going full force and everyone’s cans should be collected as per usual. During the hiccup period, there was also a tightening of contamination enforcement on cans which led many customers to believe that the program was not continuing. What had happened is that cans were viewed as contaminated and not picked up – not that the program was cancelled. We apologize for the lack of communication around these issues.

Contamination has been a problem lately, and we had spoken with the hauler about increased contamination. As a reminder our program is food scraps only (plus coffee filters). Compostable plastics (cups, cutlery, straws, take out containers, etc…) are not allowed. They are not allowed for many reasons, namely: they are not acceptable for organic compost production (and we are and OMRI listed compost supplier), many of them do not break down in a 90 day composting process, they are impossible to identify vs a non-compostable product, and lastly they don’t actually add anything to compost value or quality.

On this note: we will have the first organics working group meeting with City of Hood River this week. This group is working towards designing a hopeful curbside compost program for Hood River. We can’t believe it’s taken almost five years, but we are excited for the potential of a program (that way we won’t have to haul our own compost to work every week).

Winter-Spring- spring is around the corner. If you have extra space for compost- now is a good time to get it (especially since we need to move it off our old site). Aging compost on the land where it will be farmed/gardened has shown economic benefits in some trials we have completed. Plus, it’s one less thing to do in the spring. 

We can’t thank you all enough for the tremendous support of this business. So many people and companies have helped us along the way that there is no way we could repay all the kind deeds. This is truly a community backed venture and we appreciate the help.

 

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Dirt Hugger 2.0 Open for Business!

While we won’t finish construction until spring 2015, phase one of construction is complete which allows us to begin operations in Dallesport, WA. All inbound material and retail sales are now occurring out of the new location. We couldn’t be happier to move into the new ‘dream site’. Nor could we be happier with our whole construction team and material suppliers who worked very hard the past 60 days to make it happen on time and in budget! Thank you to everyone who helped make this happen (full list below) – it was truly a collective effort.

There will likely be some hiccups while we transition to the new site and begin to wind up operations in The Dalles. We are doing our best to make the transition as smooth as possible for our customers. Thanks for your patience and understanding. Here are directions to the new spot.

Huge thank you to our construction partners and financing team:

Crestline Construction. The whole team at Crestline: Erik for making it happen, the legendary Bill Lancaster, Carl for getting all the equipment there and back,  Yani for lunch break excavator support, Allen and Carson for dancing with the dozers, Glenn for keeping the model in line and everyone else.

Kerr Contractors: for soil cement stabilization support and work. Two of the longest work days ever turned into 5 acres of hard surface

Klein Surveying & Engineering: Elizabeth, Craig and Leo for getting us on grade

Bryant Pipe & Supply The Dalles: two-a-day visits to BPS for all of our pipe and conduit needs. Thanks Chuey, Henry, Derek(s) and Paul.

NW Linings: for getting us covered. Your team rallied. 3 ponds – 1 day.

HR Sand and Gravel: for 2100 tons of recycled concrete for roadways and ongoing support. (If you have a road project this is a great, recycled material.) Thank you Dubber, Larry, Scott and the driving team!

Tenneson Engineering: Darrin and Riley thank you.

Green Mountain Technologies: amazing technical and design support for compost facilities: Jeff – working while we sleep.

James Dean Construction: For our most valuable resource – WATER! We used over 600,000 gallons (172 loads) in Sept for dust control and compaction.

Kiwi Construction: Ross, Gary and Jerry for hauling support

Funding and Additional support: Our Kickstarter backers! Klickitat County, USDA Rural Development, Port of Klickitat, Port of The Dalles.

Team of Advisors: Nate at Friend and Reagan, Pat at Columbia River Insurance, Lisa at Davies Dunn, Stephen at Current Commercial.

Our Financing Team: Community Bank. John, Holly and Britt. We truly appreciate your help and support in putting together a great financial package.

Community Bank loan signed! John and Holly.

Community Bank loan signed! John and Holly.

 

Here are some photos of the second half of construction.

unloading liners

unloading liners

top of the mornin'

top of the mornin’

we're lucky to live here

we’re lucky to live here

grade checking - the easy way

grade checking – the easy way

$120K in GPS gear in a $1200 truck. love it.

$120K in GPS gear in a $1200 truck. love it.

d6 in the pond

d6 in the pond

finish grading pond

finish grading pond

installing liners

installing liners

taylor and andrew finish grading the pond

taylor and andrew finish grading the pond

like a boss

like a boss

installing liners

installing liners

IMG_5077

a joke on tyler- his office

a joke on tyler- his office

pond liners in

pond liners in

backfilling anchor trench on pond liners

backfilling anchor trench on pond liners

testing the roadway to make sure trucks can pass

testing the roadway to make sure trucks can pass

pond liners are in

pond liners are in

the first load of material!

the first load of material!

unloading blocks for retail bays

unloading blocks for retail bays

rock for roadway and storm water bioswale

rock for roadway and storm water bioswale

pond filling with rainwater

pond filling with rainwater

first loads arrive!

first loads arrive!

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