Friday 8 January 2016

The scoop on your poop

The scoop on your poop

I lived in Vancouver for many years, and I really didn’t think about where things went after I flushed. Living out in the countryside, as I do now, I soon found out! Vancouver’s so-called green solution is to truck out its not-so-green problem to other parts of the province.

Vancouver likes to think it is a world-class city, but in fact it is employing a very dirty solution to a problem that should be dealt with according to industry best practices, as carried out in many parts of Europe—clean incineration, with a net gain of energy to the grid. Trucking out its sewer sludge is the cheap option—not the healthiest, and not the greenest.

Nowhere in Vancouver can you let your doggie have a poop without picking up after it, yet somehow it is right and proper that all that human big-city poop should be trucked out of Vancouver and deposited all over Nicola Valley’s farms, ranches, and forests. The use of “biosolids” in this way is not about recycling—it is simply the spreading of toxins throughout the environment. We worked so hard to perfect the water treatment systems in our cities, to separate the nasty chemicals from our waste water, and yet here we are recklessly putting that very toxic goulash back into the environment. This is short-sighted and reckless.

There is risk involved with land application of biosolids. I have never met a sludge-industry worker who would deny this. Over time the burden of chemicals, pathogens, prions, and poisons will build up, and have a negative effect on the air, water, and land. The inherent danger in this process is even more dire for First Nations communities that depend on the forests and rivers for much of their diet and medicines. To jeopardize this traditional lifestyle in the name of expediency is verging on what some have called environmental racism.

To ask the rural population to take all the risks involved with Vancouver’s (or any city’s) sewage disposal problem is unfair, unhealthy, and unsustainable. The sludge industry and the trucking industry are making huge profits off this process of toxin dispersal. The people of the Nicola Valley will no longer be subjected to this dirty, problematic solution to big-city sewage. Look towards the future, and push for a cleaner, sustainable method. Simply tossing this mess onto a neighbour’s property is not a solution. It is selfish and not very neighbourly!