Capital region's biosolids ban to be lifted this summer
VICTORIA -- It is a topic that typically makes people squeamish, but following a CRD decision, human waste is being talked about more.
Almost a decade ago, the Capital Regional District banned the spreading of biosolids, which are treated pellets made from human waste.
That ban will be partially lifted as early as this summer.
Biosolids from the McLoughlin Point Wastewater Treatment Plant in Victoria are currently shipped to a cement manufacturer on the mainland.
But every year the plant closes for maintenance for just over a month. The CRD says the province has been putting pressure on the district board to find a solution for the biosolids during that shutdown.
"We will be taking those biosolids up to Hartland [Landfill]," says CRD board chair Colin Plant.
"They will be used as fertilizer for trees growing on closed parts of the landfill."
The CRD says this is a temporary solution, and staff are working hard to find a better use for the biosolids in the future.
The idea to spread them at the landfill is not sitting well with everyone.
Critics say biosolids are dangerous, and can be carried by wind or rain to neighbouring properties.
"Think of every single product when you walk into a Shoppers Drug Mart," said Biosolid Free BC founder Philippe Lucas. "Every one of those products that goes down our drains and our toilets, they all get concentrated into our sewage sludge."
It is not only detergents and soaps that people are worried about but also drugs.
Critics say anything from vitamins to cancer drugs can also end up in the biosolids.
Arzeena Hamir is an organic farmer and says she is not concerned about the biosolids being spread at Hartland, as long as the facility is leach-proof, which the CRD says it is.
However, Hamir says that we still do not know the long-term impacts biosoilds will have on our environment.