Bison need a good pasture to feed, and in an effort to improve their pasture quality the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch will use biosolids to rejuvenate their soil. To address concerns from residents over the use of human waste products, their will be a public meeting held March 24 with representatives from NutriGrow, who are at the head of the project. (File photo)

Ranch’s plan to use processed human waste fertilizer prompts concern in Turtle Valley

Turtle Valley residents invited to hear facts around biosolids

The proposed use of processed human waste to improve the soil at the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch has prompted a meeting between local residents and NutriGrow, a supplier of biosolids products in B.C.

Ranch owner Louis Blanc says this project is designed to improve the quality of the soil in their pastures and make them a more reliable source of feed for the bison throughout the year.

“The hope is this is going to rejuvenate that soil because it is pretty well depleted – there is no fibre left in it and it will be good for grass again so we can get the bison back on the pasture,” he says.

“The pasture is good for the first flush in the spring… unless you get a really wet summer it doesnt really grow much again. It would really be great if that soil could hold water again.”

READ MORE: Foul odour from city facility frequents neighbouring businesses

Bison have to be pastured within fenced areas as it is difficult to allow bison to range. That’s left the ranch having to make the best of the space available.

Biosolids are essentially the final product of the wastewater treatment process, produced from sewage waste that has been treated and processed to reduce bacteria and the presence of pollutants.

In B.C., they are commonly recycled back into the land after being combined with wood chippings, sand or gravel to create an organic reinforcement to the soil.

In fact, upwards of 70 per cent of biosolids produced each year in the province are used to reclaim land used for mining or landfills, as well as to improve the nutrient quality of the soil, according to B.C. government figures.

Despite these proposed benefits, those opposed to the use of biosolids point to studies indicating high levels of metal deposits found in biosolids that do not dissipate over time and may contribute to soil or water contamination.

The response from the community has not been favourable, with some neighbours taking issue with the idea of spreading this biproduct of human waste on farmland.

“In this day and age, putting a questionable product on a mountainside right next to a creek that runs into Shuswap Lake is kind of worrying, in my opinion,” says Shirley Mainprize of the Turtle Valley Donkey Refuge.

READ MORE: ‘Naturally occurring’ anthrax kills 13 bison in B.C.

Mainprize notes that, in her conversations with others in the community, the key issues raised are the potential for pollution, a possible odour while spreading the biosolids and the effect mass transportation of the material might have on the local roads.

“We are living in a pristine part of the world, so do we really need to spread our waste here? The science is still out on the impacts of biosolids in the long term,” Mainprize says.

To this end, the Turtle Valley Community Association and Arrow Environmental, who own NutriGrow, are hosting a meeting Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Turtle Valley Bison Ranch to discuss the use of biosolids and address concerns from residents. The meeting is open to locals who want to know more or share their concerns.

Arrow and NutriGrow were contacted to comment on this story but did not respond before press time. The article will be updated when comment from the company is available.

Just Posted

Black bear spotted near Hillcrest Elementary

The bear was sighted at around 4 p.m. after school was out

Salmon Arm skater captains national champion Junior A hockey squad

Nathan Plessis was wearing the C for the Brooks Bandits as they beat the Prince George Spruce Kings

VIDEO: Fire damaged Salmon Arm 7-Eleven demolished

7-Eleven representative says company interested opening elsewhere in Salmon Arm

Blind Bay residents want reduced speed limit

Residents along Golf Course Drive concerned with speeding drivers and risk to pedestrians

Support sought for family of mother who died at Shuswap campground

Chase Fire and Rescue Association hosting May 25 fundraiser

Kelowna toddler suffers cracked skull after fall from balcony

Neighbour who found the two-year-old boy said he has a bump the size of a golf ball on his head

Multiple black bear sightings in residential area near Okanagan elementary

Pictures of the bear have been posted on the Armstrong Community Forum frequently

RCMP probe if teen was intentionally hit with ski pole by mystery skier on B.C. mountain

The incident happened on March 20 on Grouse Mountain. Police are urging witnesses to come forward

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Baby boom seniors putting pressure on B.C. long-term care: report

B.C. leads Canada in growth of dementia, dependence on care

UPDATED: B.C. man says he’ll take People’s Party lawsuit as far as he can

Federal judge shut down Satinder Dhillon’s ‘nonsensical’ motion to bar use of PPC name in byelection

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Nevada court orders former Vancouver man to pay back $21.7M to investors

The commission says Michael Lathigee committed fraud over a decade ago

Most Read