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.

Just Posted

Caledonia Kermode basketball team holds first-ever Men’s Health Night fundraiser

Approximately $250 was raised during the senior boys’ home opener game

Here are the top earners at Coast Mountains School District

Audited financial report released for 2018/2019 fiscal year

Skeena Voices | The wild path

Courtenay Crucil is a nature-based therapist and herbalist who helps people with the earth in mind

Northwest B.C. physician receives Medal of Good Citizenship Award

Dr. Peter Newbery was one of 18 people in B.C. to get provincial recognition

Terrace RCMP search for wanted man

The public is not believed to be at risk

VIDEO: Boys help rescue Cariboo bear cub

The cub, weighing just 24lbs, has been taken to wildlife sanctuary in Northwest B.C. for the winter

‘Things haven’t changed enough:’ Ecole Polytechnique anniversary prompts reflection

Fourteen women were fatally shot by a gunman at the Montreal school on Dec. 6, 1989

Bear raids freezer, gorges on Island family’s Christmas baking

Hungry bruin virtually ignored meat and fish, focused, instead, on the sweets

B.C. pharmaceutical company’s stocks double in value after successful lupus drug trial

More than 40 per cent of patients using voclosporin saw improvements in kidney function

Second warning on romaine lettuce from California region as another E. coli case reported

Two cases of E. coli have been reported in relation to the illness in the U.S.

Coastal GasLink receives first delivery of pipe sections

Company expects to begin welding and pipe laying in 2020

Residents in B.C. city could face 133% tax hike in ‘worst case’ lawsuit outcome: report

An average home could see a tax increase of $2,164 in one year

B.C. Transit finds 28 used fareboxes online, saves $300,000

‘Someone joked maybe we can buy used fareboxes on eBay,’ CEO says

Many of Canada’s working poor can’t afford lawyers, don’t qualify for legal aid

One lawyer says many people earn too much to qualify for legal aid, but not enough to really live on

Most Read