Monday, 1 January 2018

The Green Party of Canada's position on Sewer Sludge aka "Biosolids"

The Green Party of Canada's position on stopping the sewage spreading, in response to a letter to all party leaders before the last federal election:

October 15, 2015

Dear Mr. Poushinsky,

Thank you for your letter regarding the use of sewage as a fertilizer. The Green Party believes that the use of biosolids for agriculture should be banned. We need improved policies to assess the environmental impacts of this practice, and protect the health of rural Canadians.

As I have said, “Human sewage sludge these days contains a lot of heavy metals, can contain pathogens. In other words, biological materials which can be deadly. It also contains a lot of pharmaceutical products.”

We need to improve both national and international regulatory regimes to prevent, reduce, and control the release of toxic substances and nutrients into our environment. There is an urgent need to limit the influx of agricultural wastewater and untreated human sewage into our waters.

The Green Party has been the most vocal opponent of the Harper Conservative changes to environmental regulation, which have gutted the Canadian Environmental Assessment Act, the Navigable Waters Protection Act, and the Fisheries Act, among other pieces of legislation.

We will continue to press for restored and improved environmental regulations in Canada to protect the health of our people and our ecosystems.

The Green Party will further support environmental stewardship in agriculture by:
● Protecting and improving the quality of water in our streams, lakes, and aquifers
● Working with provinces to ensure that all livestock waste is safely recycled and that contamination by agricultural runoff
is avoided
● Introducing costshared programs to help farmers protect wildlife habitat areas and marginal lands, and maintain water and soil quality.

Greens share your concern about the buildup of phosphorus in Canadian waters. Algal blooms in bodies like Lake Winnipeg are feeding off sewage and agricultural chemicals. We must recommit to strong water quality regulations, to ensure that our waters are protected from hazardous runoff.

Above all, we must restore public scientific capacity in Canada. Without federal scientific expertise and consistent and reliable monitoring of pollutants, we are flying blind. The Green Party commits to restoring science based policy and ensuring unfettered access to public
science. We will provide $75million annually to add critical science capacity to Environment Canada, Health Canada, Parks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans.

As we rebuild our federal scientific capacity, we will also strengthen the role of scientific evidence in federal decision making by restoring the position of the National Science Advisor to the Prime Minister and establishing a Parliamentary Science Officer.

To answer your specific questions,

we will agree to allow the Canadian Food Inspection Agency to fulfill its mandate to enforce the Canadian Fertilizer Act and stop the spreading of hazardous municipal sewage sludge biosolids on farmland.

We will agree to have government investigate the probable links between the sewage spreading and health and environmental problems.

We will agree to apply the Precautionary Principle and stop the spreading of municipal sewage sludge on Canada's farmland until full and proper research into the health and environmental consequences is carried out by government.

We will agree to compensate those who have suffered harm from sewage spreading on farmland, and to undertake remedial action to overcome whatever environmental damage it has caused.

The Green Party will lead Canada back to evidence based policy making, will strengthen environmental regulations, and will increase needed monitoring to ensure that Canadians are protected from exposure to hazardous materials.

Thank you again for writing.


Elizabeth May, OC
Leader of the Green Party of Canada