Company’s plan to use human waste byproduct as fertilizer alarms Dewdney-Chilliwack Progress residents

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Rural residents of Dewdney were shocked to learn this week that a private company was planning to truck municipal waste sludge from Metro Vancouver onto local property.

Approximately 30 residents, several representatives of the Leq’á:mel First Nation and the elected representative of the Fraser Valley Regional District (FVRD) gathered near the property at the intersection of Bell and Hawkins Pickle roads on May 10 .

Most had only heard about the project by word of mouth after Arrow Environmental Services (AES) posted public notices on the doors of some neighbors.

“No one was notified. There was no input from the public,” said nearby resident Hellen Morton. “Would you like human waste piled next to you?

AES – a subsidiary of Arrow Transportation Systems – has partnered with Fraser Valley Aggregates to reclaim a former gravel extraction site and use it for agricultural production, according to the company’s notice.

They intend to use “biosolids,” a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process, as fertilizer to create various products under the NutriGrow brand.

Locals all have serious concerns about the smell and potential groundwater contamination, according to Morton, while farmers worry about the long-term effects on the ecosystem from the buildup of nitrates, iron and copper. .

She said they all use wells depending on the same aquifer, including the local primary school, and a local salmon spawning channel is nearby.

Recent construction work on the property’s road ahead of any notice makes the project seem underhanded, Morton said.

Approval and regulation of the project is outside of local municipal jurisdiction, said Al Stobbart, FVRD’s Area G director, adding that he only heard about it last Thursday (May 5).

“It’s purely provincial,” he said, noting that the use of biosolids falls under accepted practices of the Farm Lands Commission. “We try to ensure that best practices are followed.”

Al Stobbart, his constituents, and Leq’á:mel representatives finally met with an AES official on May 10.

“A lot of residents were understandably angry,” Stobbart said. “It was a difficult time.”

Metro Vancouver biosolids have been used safely as fertilizer for more than 30 years and are often used to reclaim areas disturbed by mining activity, landfills and gravel pits, according to an email from an AES spokesperson. .

They said AES is committed to being transparent with local residents, even though they are not required to do so under provincial regulations.

“As we kicked off the road construction works a few days ago to prepare for the start of the project, it became apparent that some members of the local community had unanswered questions,” the spokesperson said.

“We are fully committed to resolving them before work begins…During this period, operations at the site will be idle.”


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EnvironmentFraser Valley Regional District

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