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

Rossland’s Seven Summits school gets grant to grow global presence

Centre for Learning hopes to triple the number of international students it has

Rural dividend grants awarded in Kootenay West

Kootenay West MLA Katrine Conroy made the grant announcements in Trail on Thursday

Rossland skiier places third at U19 Canadian Ski Cross

Rossland’s Sage Stefani finished out a successful season.

Warfield elementary school celebrating 70 years

Webster Elementary School officially opened April 23, 1949; open house and events planned next week

Trail workshop offers path forward for affordable/supportive housing

Columbia Basin Trust, BC Housing and the CMHC all spoke during the Tuesday morning session

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

B.C. RCMP receive application for Police Cat Services

RCMP announced the launch of the Police Cat Services unit as an April fools joke

Kirkland Signature veggie burgers recalled due to possible metal fragments

Recalled products came in 1.7 kg packages with a best before date of Apr. 23, 2019

Chaos at the ferry terminal for people heading from Vancouver to the Island

Easter crowds create backlog at Tsawwassen ferry terminal

Parents of 13 who tortured children get life after hearing victims

One of their daughters fled their home and pleaded for help to a 911 operator

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Most Read