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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Homes evacuated in Fairmont due to localized flooding from heavy rainfall

RDEK has issued a state of local emergency, RCMP going door to door in affected areas

Kimberley Arts Council keeping the arts alive during pandemic

Centre 64 is Kimberley remains closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but… Continue reading

The Weed Warrior: an invasive weed, new to the East Kootenay

Wild Parsnip is a plant that most of us don’t want to have a Close Encounter of any Kind with

Selkirk graduation in Kimberley will look very different this year

We have all had to change things in the face of the… Continue reading

Council to write letter of support for Kimberley Dynamiters

KIJHL teams all seeking financial support from the provincial government in wake of COVID-19

VIDEO: Injured bald eagle rescued in B.C. First Nations community

Bird suspected injured in fight, whisked off to Coquitlam rehab

Toronto Raptors’ Ujiri says conversations about racism can no longer be avoided

Thousands have protested Floyd’s death and repeated police killings of black men across the United States

‘I’m afraid’: Witnesses of wolf attack on senior near Prince Rupert worried about safety

Frank Russ shows where the unprovoked wolf attacked his father

Protesters prepare to rally against racism in front of Vancouver Art Gallery

Rally is in response to the deaths of black Americans and a Toronto woman

Introducing the West Coast Traveller: A voyage of the mind

Top armchair travel content for Alaska, Yukon, BC, Alberta, Washington, Oregon and California!

Protesters rally against anti-black, Indigenous racism in Toronto

Police estimated the crowd to be between 3,500 and 4,000 and said there was no violence

Feds earmark $1.5M to support recovery of B.C., Indigenous tourism

B.C. money will be split between Vancouver Island and Indigenous tourism

‘We’re sick of it’: Anger over police killings shatters U.S.

Tens of thousands marched to protest the death of George Floyd

Most Read