iN VIDEO: City of Kamloops responds to biosolids protests, concerns with tour of sewage treatment centre - InfoNews

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iN VIDEO: City of Kamloops responds to biosolids protests, concerns with tour of sewage treatment centre

Greg Wightman, City of Kamloops utility services manager, stands in front of a stock of biosolids at the Kamloops Sewage Treatment Centre on Thursday, May 16, 2019.
May 17, 2019 - 8:44 AM

KAMLOOPS - In response to protests against the use of biosolids for fertilizer on and near farm land in the area, the City of Kamloops offered both protestors and media a tour of the sewage treatment centre.

Tucked behind the Domtar pulp mill at the west end of the city, the sewage from Kamloops, Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc, and some of the surrounding area gets processed into effluent and biosolids.

Effluent is the liquid product and Utility services manager Greg Wightman, who lead the media tour yesterday, May 16, says about 20 per cent of that goes into the Thompson River, and is also used for forest fire suppression and irrigation. 

"I would swim in it. I do swim in it," Wightman says. "It's not to drinking water standards."

Residents of Turtle Valley don't want the biosolids deposited on land in the community. They organized a protest on April 27 in an effort to stop the City's biosolids management contractor Arrow Transportation from doing just that.

The City has said it trusts the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation provincial guidelines, and consistently meets the requirements set out for a Class B product. It offered Turtle Valley residents a tour of the sewage treatment centre and many took it up on the offer.

Connie Seaward from the Turtle Valley Community Association, a fierce opponent of the use of biosolids, had to work so missed the tour, but says her colleagues returned from the tour with questions.

"Just because (the province has) guidelines for it doesn't mean it's adequate," Seaward says in a phone interview.

"It's not the fecal matter we're worried about," she says, noting that most of the people in the group are farmers and use manure for fertilizer. "It's everything else that goes in there that we're worried about."

She says her community is more concerned about pharmaceuticals and solid matter from sewage seeping into a nearby aquifer.

During the tour of the treatment plant, Wightman says all solid matter gets screened and then dumped into the landfill. The treatment centre is at capacity for the storage of biosolids.

Go here to see the city's Let's Talk webpage on biosolids.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Shelby Thevenot or call (250) 819-6089 or email the editor You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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