The Ministry of Environment is planning to check regulation compliance at a Shuswap dairy farm after pollution concerns were raised by a local Indian Band. (File photo) The Ministry of Environment is planning to check regulation compliance at a Shuswap dairy farm after pollution concerns were raised by a local Indian Band. (File photo)

Province looking into pollution complaint at Shuswap dairy farm

Farm along the Salmon River has drawn complaints from the Okanagan Indian Band

The Ministry of Environment say they will be visiting a dairy operation on the banks of the Salmon River regarding pollution complaints.

A letter sent to Columbia Shuswap Regional District (CSRD) Area D director Rene Talbot by the Okanagan Indian Band claims a dairy farm located near the Falkland end of Salmon River Road is threatening bank stability and water quality in the river. The letter states that the cows’ access to the stream bank has the potential to destroy riparian vegetation, and that the use of liquid manure fertilization can have a negative impact on water quality. The letter, signed by Chief Byron Louis, notes the band has water wells across the river from the dairy farm.

Read More: Money available to curtail nutrient pollution of Shuswap watershed

Read More: Passengers, pilot escape with only minor injuries in helicopter crash near Whistler

The CSRD sent a response noting the property in question is in the Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR) and the CSRD zoning allows agriculture.

The CSRD has no building inspection service in the area and as such, plays no part in the development of dairy barns. The letter says they also have no power to regulate farm use on ALR land.

The ministry states staff would be visiting the farm in the coming weeks to evaluate the farm’s compliance with the Agricultural Environmental Management (AEM) Code of Practice, a new set of regulations which came into effect in February 2019. The ministry states the goal of the regulations are to ensure that agricultural practices are consistent with the protection of clean, safe drinking water and clean air.

Read More: Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs optimistic ahead of talks with feds, province

Read More: ‘The project is proceeding’: Horgan resolute in support of northern B.C. pipeline

The focus of the coming visit to the farm will be manure application and access to water courses.

According to a ministry spokesperson, some of the new regulations in the AEM code specify that agricultural activities and structures must be set back a minimum of 30 metres from drinking water sources, 15 metres from watercourses and 4.5 metres from property boundaries to prevent pollution. The code also features nutrient application requirements to ensure fertilizer applied to land match crop needs and stop nutrients and pathogens from entering water bodies.

A three-year study released by the Shuswap Watershed Council concluded the Salmon River is one of the main sources bringing phosphorous into the Shuswap watershed. Phosphorous is one of the nutrients which can be released into water when crops are fertilized. The study notes that agricultural land contributes much more phosphorous to the watershed than urban or forested land. While water quality in the area remains largely good for now, increased phosphorous levels can cause undesirable water conditions like algae blooms.



jim.elliot@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

EnvironmentFarming

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

Just Posted

Grocery runs keep Salmon Arm delivery service busy

Businesses introduce ways to support customers while limiting contact

IN DEPTH: How B.C. emptied its hospitals to prepare for COVID-19

Thousands of beds have been freed up, but patients and seniors have had to sacrifice

Salmon Arm Silverbacks meet Snakes in BCHL simulated conference final

BCHL turns to video game and players from remaining teams to crown a simulated league playoff winner

Okanagan Spirits donating free sanitizer to those most at risk during COVID-19 pandemic

The Okanagan distillery’s spirits that would have become whisky or gin is now being denatured to make hand sanitizer

Canada expands 75% wage subsidy to COVID-19 affected businesses of all sizes: Trudeau

Program will provide up to $847 per week for each worker

Canadian COVID-19 update: Cases spike in Quebec & Ontario; Nine O’Clock Gun salutes health workers

Comprehensive Canadian news update as of 12:30 p.m., Monday, March 30.

WATCH: Police, fire rally for Vernon hospital workers in COVID-19 fight

Sirens blaring and pots clanging, residents and emergency responders cheer on nurses, doctors

North Okanagan woman helps others apply for EI amid COVID-19

Pandemic has locals retooling skillsets to help others

North Okanagan woman sews masks amid pandemic

Masks offer sense of safety and people need that now, says Becca Hoffmann

COVID-19: No fines to be issued by Vernon bylaw

Officers can provide assistance ‘as may be required for purposes of enforcing public health orders’

Kelowna production company keeps filming through COVID-19 pandemic

DCD Productions uses drones so crew can keep their physical distance

One dead, three others injured following stabbing in Kamloops

Police arrested 43-year-old man at 1 a.m. on Sunday

Snowfall warning in effect for Coquihalla Highway

Total accumulations of up to 25 cm can be expected by this evening

Most Read