A large loader picks up a bucket full of biosolids mixture during application to farmland. (Wikimedia commons image)

Human waste as fertilizer proposal prompts Shuswap opposition

Chase area residents seek to spread awareness of potential effects of biosolids

Opposition continues to build on the proposed use of biosolids to improve pasture on the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch near Chase.

Biosolids are a mixture of treated sewage waste, wood chippings and soil or sand; applying them to land is hoped to improve growing conditions.

READ MORE: Opposition to human waste fertilizer at Shuswap bison ranch continues

An initial meeting held by Arrow Transportation, the company that will be transporting and applying the biosolids, prompted Turtle Valley residents to organize their own public meeting, where it was decided the group would be more visible in their opposition.

“We had about 60 residents attend, and support from local First Nations as well. We have organized to have banners, bumper stickers and pamphlets produced to spread through the community, and we discussed as a group our main concerns about the whole issue,” says Connie Seaward, who is taking a leading role in the community’s opposition to biosolids.

READ MORE: Turtle Valley residents call second meeting to oppose human waste as fertilizer

Seaward says the biggest concern within the community is the use on a hill over Chum Lake and near rivers that run into Shuswap Lake.

“We had brought up concerns to Arrow about the site being on a fairly steep hill, and the possibility for runoff from the hill,” Seaward says. “We were told it is common to apply biosolids on steep pitches when reclaiming landfills, but there was no example on actual agricultural land.”

Seaward notes that Arrow representatives told the community they replicated scenarios in a laboratory and had no failures during the tests.

The other main concern brought up during the meeting was the presence of additional chemicals in biosolids, such as metals or pharmaceuticals, and a lack of publicly-available tests of the material that will be used in Turtle Valley.

READ MORE: Foul odour from city facility frequents neighbouring businesses

“We asked them, if they are so sure about the safety of biosolids, then why not put the community at ease and do testing and show us the results,” Seaward says.

Arrow has confirmed the biosolids which will be used in Turtle Valley are ‘class B’ biosolids – meaning they are not as heavily processed. According to the Canadian Water and Wastewater Association: “in general, there are buffer requirements, public access and crop harvesting restrictions for virtually all forms of Class B biosolids,” and they are “treated but still containing detectible levels of pathogens.”

Class B biosolids are allowed to be spread on agricultural land in B.C. under the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation, though are more heavily regulated including restrictions on being applied near watersheds and sources of drinking water.


 

@Jodi_Brak117
jodi.brak@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

West Kootenay couple escapes Spain – safe, sound, and in self-isolation

BC couple Garrett Kucher and Tory Apostoliuk make it home after almost a week of lockdown in Spain

Social media a blessing and a curse during time of crisis: B.C. communication expert

‘In moments of crisis, fear is very real and palpable,’ says SFU’s Peter Chow-White

Interior Health officials outline pandemic response in virtual town hall

Kelowna-Lake County MLA Norm Letnick moderates digital discussion, Q&A with Interior Health leadership

MP Morrison touts non-partisan effort to provide relief amid COVID-19 pandemic

The federal government has announced a slew of economic initiatives for those impacted by the pandemic

B.C. COVID-19 contact restrictions working, Dr. Bonnie Henry says

’Not out of the woods yet’ as next two weeks are critical

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

LifeLabs reducing public hours as it assists with COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus tests not done at B.C. patient centres, referrals only

24,000 Canadian Forces members ready for COVID-19 response: Defence Minister

No direct requests made by premiers yet, national defence minister says

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Kootenay Meadows Farm experiencing shortage of glass milk bottles

Some grocery stores have stopped accepting bottle returns amid COVID-19 concerns

Crucial details of Ottawa’s proposed wage subsidy program expected today

The government has rolled out a bailout package totalling more than $200 billion

‘Nothing concrete’: Tenants, landlords lack details after B.C. unveils COVID-19 rental aid

Single mom in Golden says she’s already going to the food bank after being laid off

B.C. is seeing the highest rate of COVID-19 recovery in Canada, and there’s a few reasons why

British Columbia was one of the first to see rise in COVID-19 cases, and has also switched up testing

Most Read