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.

Just Posted

Last stop: The inside story of Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure

Former employees open up about the Nelson company’s final days

How the Queen City Shuttle and Charters’ closure affected you

Here’s what readers had to say about the company’s shutdown

LETTER: Clearing up men’s conference confusion

From conference organizer Jeff Zak

IODE and Kootenay Emergency Response celebrate partnership

IODE has pledged $30,000 to KERPA over the next three years

Andrew Bellerby out as RDCK’s regional fire chief

Bellerby held the job since January 2016

Feds lowered poverty line, reducing the number of seniors in need: documents

Liberals introduced a poverty line that was below the prior low-income cutoff

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Justin Trudeau’s carbon footprint revealed in ranking of world leaders

Travel company ranks 15 world leaders’ foreign flight CO2 emissions

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

After B.C. dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read