Biosolid complaints solved peacefully

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A controversy over biosolids that could have caused a stink ended peacefully.

County Councillor Sally Fraser said she received numerous calls after loads of the biosolids (treated human waste that is used for fertilizer) arrived in Merigomish.

The residents main concerns were the chemical contaminants in the biosolids.

Fraser said the farm owner, Dale Archibald was a true gentlemen about the whole situation and as soon as he heard the concern about the biosolids, he had them removed.

“They were so polite and so willing to agree,” Fraser said. “They said if people had these concerns they’d just remove it… Kudos to them for their good management of it all.”

Biosolids are permitted as a fertilizer in Nova Scotia. What concerned residents in Merigomish though was the possibility it might impact nearby oyster beds or contaminate water supply.

There’s been an ongoing debate about bio solids for a while.

“Basically, it’s every pharmaceutical, medication, household chemical gets flushed down those toilets in one form or another. As far as I know, there are thousands of chemicals that go down people’s toilets,” said area resident Donald Bourque. “There’s no possible way they can control them. They can compost it, and heat it, and bring the bacteria count down to legal levels. But you can’t do anything about the viruses, and the pharmaceuticals, and the chemicals that are in it. And eventually, those things will leech down into our water systems, and we all get our water from those aquifers down underground.”

He was happy to see trucks loading the biosolids to take them away last Friday.

Geographic location: Merigomish, Nova Scotia

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  • Caroline Snyder
    May 28, 2014 - 14:23

    Dale Archibald made the right decision to not spread biosolids (processed sewage sludge)on his land. This material does not just contain what is flushed down toilets but also a vast array of industrial chemical compounds, many of which are persistent, toxic, and can be magnified in the food chain. Many hundreds of rural sludge-exposed neighbors have suffered serious respiratory illnesses; stratified drift aquifers which serve as drinking water have been permanently polluted by sludge, and prize winning dairy herds were wiped out when animals sickened and died after ingesting forage grown on pastures treated with sludge. US rules, which are similar to Canadian rules, permit every entity connected to a sewer to discharge its hazardous waste into treatment plants. Much of this waste, and superbugs that are actually produced during the treatment process, end up in biosolids. Such a complex and unpredictaable contaminated waste mixture should not be used as "fertilizer" and does not belong on the land where we grow our crops. Farmers, like Archibald, are wise to shun this material and keep their land healthy and productive for future generations. For documentation and additional information, see www.biosolidsfacts.org