To the editor,
Biosolids industry proponent Ned Beecher's reply in last week's letters to Chris Benjamin's columns on the dangers of biosolids unsurprisingly neglects to address the bioaccumulation of heavy metals in the soil. HRM's current advanced primary level of sewage treatment (a step below the new federal guidelines) cannot and was not designed to filter out chemicals and heavy metals that are routinely flushed into the system. Human feces contain nutrients that can benefit the soil and if feces were all that got flushed down the toilet, land application could be a good idea. But we have no idea what sludge produced by HRM's plants contains because we don't monitor what goes down the drain of every household, business and hospital.
As citizens and consumers, we should demand labelling on products grown or livestock fed on land that has been contaminated with biosolids. We should also follow the lead of some of our European and American neighbours and demand a moratorium on sludge spreading on agricultural lands. We might even think about the benefits of a composting toilet. With a global food shortage looming, Nova Scotia needs to protect its precious farmlands from contamination. The alternative is unthinkable.
By Elizabeth Pierce