Province invites input on sewage sludge treatment


The following information is posted for your information and individual participation. The Cadboro Bay Residents Association takes no position on this matter:

From the Sewage Treatment Action Group:

Re: Opportunity For Public Input On Production, Distribution, Sale, Storage, Use, And Land Application Of Biosolids. 

The Province is inviting British Columbians to review and provide feedback on a Policy Intentions Paper for the BC Organic Matter Recycling Regulation (OMRR), which includes new requirements for managing the use of biosolids (sewage sludge). We believe these decisions affect all of us.


The OMRR Policy Intentions Paper states that sewage sludge is a valuable resource, as well as concluding that there is a need to update the OMRR to reflect advances in science and present day practices, and to ensure that the regulation remains protective of human health and the environment. Page 7 of the Policy Intentions Paper outlines a proposed addition of new standards:

The OMRR sets out requirements for production and use of compost, biosolids and biosolids growing medium. The regulation also includes process and quality criteria and distribution requirements.

The ministry will ensure that standards reflect up-to date science and are protective of human health and the environment. The ministry will work closely with Ministry of Health in revising the standards.

In addition to other standards under consideration, the ministry proposes to add chromium and copper maximum allowable standards to Class A biosolids.

This ministry is also considering addition of standards for other substances of concern not currently in the OMRR, including:

Emerging substances of concern or ESOCs: personal care products, pharmaceuticals, flame retardants, and endocrine disrupting compounds; and

Legacy organics: dioxins, furans, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), phenols and phthalates.

Currently, no decision has been made on what to do with the sewage sludge the CRD wastewater plan will produce other than to stock pile it at the Hartland Landfill. Considering that disposing of sewage sludge in forests and on agricultural land is an accepted practice elsewhere in BC (including Vancouver Island) the risk of land application becoming a solution for the CRD is very real.

Many individuals and organizations have an interest in an updated regulatory regime for sewage sludge, given that land application of sewage sludge is unlikely to be a safe method of disposal, and that there are emerging technologies focused on resource recovery that provide viable alternatives.

It is important to provide the Province with sufficient input on developing clear guidance for local governments, as well as compost and biosolids producers, on how to dispose of organic material while protecting soil quality and drinking water sources.

Your participation in the following is therefore encouraged:

1.    Encourage your Board to become educated on the negative and cumulative impacts of the land application of sewage sludge.
2.    Provide your Association’s feedback on the OMRR Policy Intentions Paper at the link below, noting that the opportunity for public comments ends December 2nd, 2016

3. Email the Province expressing your concern around current practices in BC:

      4. Share this call to action with others.

Please read (and feel free to use) the STAG letter sent to the Province (attached below).
Sewage Treatment Action Group
Victoria, B.C.

Since its inception in 2007, the Sewage Treatment Action Group (STAG) has consistently advocated for sewage treatment practices that stand to fulfill our social, financial and environmental goals and responsibilities, now and for future generations.

A 2011 decision banning the land application of biosolids in the CRD remains in place despite significant efforts in 2013 to see the ban overturned.

List of Resources and Documents for Joint Meeting of the Environmental Sustainability, Core Area Liquid Waste Committee, Solid Waste Advisory Committee, and Saanich Peninsula Wastewater Commission, May 25th, 2011.

Scientists react to BC Govt’s recent review of land application of biosolids.

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