June 17, 2015 - 2:59 PM
MERRITT - After several months of protests and blockades, the province has agreed to establish a group to conduct a scientific review of biosolids in Nicola Valley.
The province announced today, June 17, a technical working will conduct the review, focussed on developing a monitoring and testing regime, reviewing the effectiveness of current requirements for an application plan and reviewing research on how biosolids impact wildlife and whether any monitoring or testing is needed.
"This process indicates that government recognizes the importance of the issue to the Nicola Valley, and will provide the opportunity to review and give input,” MLA Jackie Tegart says in a release. “Although it has taken some time, this is a good first step as we continue to work on this very complex issue."
The group will include Ministry of Environment staff, First Nations Health Authority and Interior Health Authority staff as well as academia and industry professionals.
An advisory committee will be formed to oversee the group and make recommendations to the minister. Members of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District, First Nations, the health authorities, community groups, the Ministry of Agriculture, B.C. Water and Waste Association and B.C. Cattleman’s Association have been invited to be part of the working group.
It is expected recommendations will be made this fall and the findings of the review will then be made public.
The composting of biosolids has become a controversial issue in the district and the BioCentral compost facility in the Merritt area has been the focus of recent protests. Protestors have set up blockades, stopping many trucks from reaching the disposal site west of Merritt and have also rallied in front of Premier Christy Clark’s office in West Kelowna.
In May the regional district said it would be looking at what changes could be made to regulations around commercial and agriculture composting.
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News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2015