Farmland fertilizer: biosolids and fracking wastewater

Biosolid fertilizer can easily contaminate other crops.An article by the CBC this week said “that a biologist at Acadia University has discovered sea birds are depositing contaminants on land that they’ve picked from food sources in the ocean.” An article on Water Encyclopedia claims, ” A major public health concern is the safety of seafood as it relates to the chemical pollution of waters used for commercial and recreational fishing and mariculture. Heavy metals (e.g., copper, lead, mercury, and arsenic) can reach high levels inside marine animals, and then be passed along as seafood for humans.

In another article on this website we saw that these toxins (class A) are shipped to farms for fertilizer, after they get treated at N-Viro since 2008. A call to Nova Scotia Environment about this to see if there were still a lot of farms using biosolids proved fruitless. After it’s treated at the N-Viro facility it is reclassified as fertilizer and Nova Scotia Environment states it is no longer their concern. Since it’s now fertilizer, there is no monitoring or testing to be done. The birds and marine animals being poisoned, mentioned in the CBC article, may see it differently.

Mark Mallory, Canada Research Chair in coastal wetland ecosystems and associate professor at Acadia is quoted in the article as saying:

“All of those dead organisms or dead bits of biological material are going to obviously contain nutrients, but depending on what organism you’re talking about, they may have a relatively high level of contamination. And that’s certainly true for sea birds because they feed at the top of marine food webs, which can be quite contaminated. “

In a letter written by Dr. Marilyn Cameron, Chair, Biosolids & Waste Water Caucus, Nova Scotia Environmental Network, Oct. 14th, 2010, to Kenneth Moses, CAD, Municipality of the District of Yarmouth, she clearly states:

“To briefly summarize, we spoke about the mechanisms during treatment processes for removal of these substances as being largely non-existent. It is speculated that there is a potential for the spread of infectious viral, prlon, parasitic or bacterial diseases via air, food or water transport mechanisms. The Caucus has also raised concerns that the onus of responsibility for negative impacts to the environment, livestock, and public safety may fall onto the end use, the farmer. Farmers are being told that biosolids are safe when, in fact, no evidence exists to demonstrate such a claim. New research findings are determining the opposite and numerous scientific papers have been published to show that land application of biosolids is contaminating the soils, groundwater and surface waters with persistent pollutants and carcinogens. These substances, over time, affect soil fertility, wildlife reproductive health, and are responsible for increased incidences of food-borne illnesses and other diseases in humans and livestock.”

Of course the use of biosolids isn’t limited strictly to Nova Scotia. Environmentalists across the country were presenting similar issues. No doubt, people like Dr. Marilyn Cameron had to be quieted. In October, 2011, there was a federal announcement that the half-million dollars that funds Canada’s environmental networks would be terminated. There are approximately 60 environmental organizations in the Network. It really is no wonder “that a biologist at Acadia University has discovered sea birds are depositing contaminants on land that they’ve picked from food sources in the ocean.” Since government has quieted the voices of the environmental network, we are re-discovering information that was previously known. Science has taken a major step backwards in Canada.

Please watch Dr. Marilyn Cameron’s presentation below. It has been shared with her permission. If you are one of this website’s subscribers who is viewing this post in your email, you won’t be able to watch the presentation. You will have to view it on the website. You will see several of the slides have footnotes. The references are available in a pdf file you can download here.

Recent events suggest this will get even worse. To create the N-VIRO sludge, it is mixed with cement kiln dust from Lafarge Brookfield. The Department of Environment has authorized the disposal of more treated hydraulic fracturing wastewater in the cement kiln at Lafarge in Brookfield. According to an article on the Halifax Media Co-op website it says that Nova Scotia Environment and Environment Minister Randy Delorey, claim that the disposal by evaporation into the cement kiln is defined as not a release into the environment. N-Viro only tests for a handful of chemicals and there haven’t been any concerns mentioned about this. It really is quite amazing that 10 million litres of fracking wastewater can just magically disappear this way and the problem is solved. Lest we forget, there is another 20 million litres sitting in holding ponds in Kennetcook Nova Scotia and no decision has been made about how it will be disposed of yet.

In slide #36 it says, “Residents of rural communities value our health and properties and do not wish to be exposed to urban and/or industrial wastes.” Unfortunately, there is no escaping it now.

Groups like, this one are springing up all over North America, where groups of concerned citizens band together to show their support against government tyranny. New laws are quickly outlawing protests and many people are being labeled as terrorists. Fortunately we are within our legal rights to petition the government and that’s what we need to do in this case Sign the petition asking the Honourable Stephen McNeil, and Honourable Randy Delorey to stop processing fracking wastewater through LaFarge. At least this is a start!

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