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

Loggers Golf Tournament returns to the links at Seven Hills Golf and Country Club

The North Island Logger’s Golf Tournament has been running for over 30 years.

Tyson’s Thoughts: Flag raising ceremony a great start to pride festivities

It was beautiful to see a group of people celebrate who they truly are and not be afraid to do so.

Blue Sox dominate Sneak Attack at Fathers Day Classic

Blue Sox got out to an early lead and kept building on it with strong hitting and quality fielding.

North Island Rising: Minority Rules – Women & Politics

Male politicians continue to out number female politicians in the North Island.

North Island Concert Society reports on a successful season

It was a successful season for the NICS in terms of increased attendance.

PHOTOS: Elusive ‘ghost whale’ surfaces near Campbell River

Ecotourism operator captures images of the rare white orca

Victoria mom describes finding son ‘gone’ on first day of coroners inquest into overdose death

Resulting recommendations could change handling of youth records amidst the overdose crisis

Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun

Footage is shown at trial of Oscar Arfmann, charged with killing Const. John Davidson of Abbotsford

Suicide confirmed in case of B.C. father who’d been missing for months

2018 disappearance sparked massive search for Ben Kilmer

Eight U.S. senators write to John Horgan over B.C. mining pollution

The dispute stems from Teck Resources’ coal mines in B.C.’s Elk Valley

Threats charge against Surrey’s Jaspal Atwal stayed

Atwal, 64, was at centre of controversy in 2018 over his attendance at prime minister’s reception in India

Anti-vaxxer Robert F. Kennedy Jr. to speak in Surrey

He’s keynote speaker at Surrey Environment and Business Awards luncheon by Surrey Board of Trade Sept. 17

Otters devour 150 trout at Kootenay hatchery

The hatchery has lost close to 150 fish in the past several months

B.C. church’s Pride flag defaced for second time in 12 days

Delta’s Ladner United Church says it will continue to fly the flag for Pride month

Most Read