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

Trial date set in Castlegar RCMP shooting death

Constable Jason Tait has elected a jury trial.

RDCK recycling depots to join RecycleBC program

Some depots open, others close, and different materials will be accepted

Morning start: This famous singer is from the West Kootenays

Here is your Kootenays’ morning start for Tuesday, May 26

Help the Nelson Star continue its mission to provide trusted local news

Black Press is now accepting donations to keep its papers operating

B.C. drive-in theatre appeals COVID-19 concession rules, 50-car limit

With 50 cars and the removal of concession sales, drive-in owner says theatre might have to close

COVID-19: B.C. grants aim to stabilize sexual assault recovery programs

$10 million fund not yet ready to take applications

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Most Read