Residents of Turtle Valley are showing opposition to a plan to mix biosolids into the soil at the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch. While the ranch hopes it will improve their ability to pasture animals, residents are concerned by possible contamination of soil and water in the area. (File photo)

Residents of Turtle Valley are showing opposition to a plan to mix biosolids into the soil at the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch. While the ranch hopes it will improve their ability to pasture animals, residents are concerned by possible contamination of soil and water in the area. (File photo)

Pee-ew: B.C. ranch using processed sewage as fertilizer opposed by neighbours

Turtle Valley residents concerned over possible soil, water contamination

Residents of the small Shuswap community of Turtle Valley, near Salmon Arm, continue their opposition against a plan to spread biosolids on a ranch in the area, citing concerns of soil and water contamination.

The Turtle Valley Bison Ranch is planning to work with Arrow Transportation and NutriGrow to apply biosolids, the processed byproduct of human sewage, to land that was logged to create more pasture space for the bison.

The dried, processed waste product – which comes from Kamloops – is mixed with compostables such as wood chippings and sand or soil, and mixed with the existing land.

While it is hoped this will improve the soil for grazing, some studies suggest the presence of metals and chemicals in biosolids may be harmful to agricultural land, and the substance has been heavily regulated in Europe.

After learning of these potential issues, the response from within the community has been largely opposed to the spreading of biosolids .

READ MORE: Ranch’s plan to use processed human waste fertilizer prompts concern in Turtle Valley

Connie Seaward is leading the opposition to this use of biosolids as a community spokesperson. She says members of the community are concerned with the potential environmental impact and lack of prior communication.

“The reason we live here is it’s a pristine valley. The painted turtle is on the endangered species list, we have rivers and creeks that eventually flow into Shuswap Lake,” she says.

“And now we have these chemicals, which they say are only present in small amounts, but they are being applied to farmland that is intended for a food chain.”

Seaward notes that a primary issue residents have with biosolids is the potential for trace amounts of non-biodegradeable matter including microplastics and chemicals such as pharmeceuticals to leech into the soil and water. She said the chemicals may be carcinogenic.

READ MORE: Effectiveness of human waste as fertilizer examined during community meeting

The claim that only small amounts of these chemicals are found in biosolids is little comfort to Seaward and the rest of the community when the Turtle Valley plan calls for upwards of 700 double-trailer loads to be spread on the land.

In addition, the short notice given to the community has been a point of contention. While Arrow did host a community meeting about the project on March 24, it has been in the works since at least January.

READ MORE: Process limits greenhouse gas escape at Salmon Arm Landfill

“We had an overwhelming amount of community members who just found out about this a day or two before the meeting,” Seaward says. “It’s not something you can look into in one day and then decide if you are for or against it.”

She says the project has a 90-day period that allows the community to oppose the use of biosolids, but as the application was submitted in January that timeframe is nearly over.

The City of Kamloops, Arrow and NutriGrow had previously attempted to strike a similar deal with the Little Shuswap Lake Indian Band, to assist in creating an expansion to Talking Rock Golf Course.

Arrow has stated in the past that due to the long federal application process for use on band land, however, the project has been delayed and shifted to Turtle Valley until at least the fall.

Seaward notes some within the community are willing to protest or form blockades in an attempt halt the project.

READ MORE: Medical cannabis operation in the Shuswap may face regulatory hurdles


 

@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

Golden Rotary Club president Isabelle Simard presents a check in Invermere to the winner of Golden’s bingo. (Michele LaPointe photo)
Golden Bingo continues to grow; expands to other BC communities

The money is going back into the community through various Rotary projects

Calls for potential overdoses in B.C. spiked in 2020, especially in the Okanagan - Shuswap. Pictured above is a BCEHS re-enactment of paramedics attending an overdose. (BCHES)
Overdose calls spike in 2020 across the Okanagan – Shuswap

Stats show every major community in Okanagan - Shuswap increased in calls for potential overdoses

Amanda Parsons, a registered nurse on staff at the Northwood Care facility, administers a dose of the Moderna vaccine to Ann Hicks, 77, in Halifax on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Andrew Vaughan-Pool
61 new COVID-19 cases, two more deaths in Interior Health

Twenty-nine people are in hospital, seven of whom are in intensive care

Vacciniation is underway in Golden as of Friday, Jan. 15. (Federico Gambarini/dpa via AP)
Vaccination underway in Golden

Long-term care residents and staff have been prioritized, April is the goal for public vaccination

The BC SPCA is adapting its fundraising after cancelling events due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
BC SPCA gets creative with fundraising as pandemic continues

The non-profit’s in-person fundraising events all had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions

Vancouver Canucks’ Travis Hamonic grabs Montreal Canadiens’ Josh Anderson by the face during first period NHL action in Vancouver, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horvat scores winner as Canucks dump Habs 6-5 in shootout thriller

Vancouver and Montreal clash again Thursday night

Interior Health has declared the Cariboo Chilcotin a community cluster. (Angie Mindus photo)
Interior Health declares Cariboo Chilcotin region a COVID-19 cluster, 215 cases since Jan. 1

Most cases are related to transmission at social events and gatherings in Williams Lake

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a single-vehicle rollover Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, after a vehicle came into contact with a pedestrian light pole at Kalamalka Lake Road and 14th Avenue. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Minor injuries in rollover after vehicle hits Vernon crosswalk pole

The vehicle flipped onto its side, closing Kalamalka Lake Road

Penticton city council heard from Dhorea Ramanula, of Paid Employment for People with Lived Experiences Tuesday, Jan. 19. Ramanula’s organization has operated public washrooms in Kelowna staffed by community support workers since April, she says Penticton could benefit from a similar facility. (Michael Rodriguez - Kelowna Capital News)
Penticton interested in new public washroom concept to combat vandalism

Public washrooms with on-site support staff have been operating in Kelowna since April

A woman writes a message on a memorial mural wall by street artist James “Smokey Devil” Hardy during a memorial to remember victims of illicit drug overdose deaths on International Overdose Awareness Day, in the Downtown Eastside of Vancouver, on Monday, August 31, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. paramedics respond to record-breaking number of overdose calls in 2020

On the front lines, COVID-19 has not only led to more calls, but increased the complexity

Canada Post had remove a lot of letter boxes around Penticton after they were vandalized. This letter box at the United Church on Main St. remains unscathed. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Street mailbox vandals strike Penticton drop boxes

Canada Post had to remove a bunch of the vandalized units

Esa Carriere, 23, was the victim of a 2018 Canada Day homicide. (File)
Youth sentenced in Kelowna Canada Day killing

Young woman pleaded guilty to lesser assault charge, sentenced to 15-month intensive support and supervision program

Most Read