Environmental Benefits and Risks

Sept 23, 2014: Environmental Benefits Claimed on the Bio-digester Website

On Sept 21, 2014 I sent an email to Mr. P. Paquette (Director of Operations, Georgian Bluffs) about the environmental benefits of the bio-digester that are claimed on the joint biodigester website (under the “Education” tab). Mr. Paquette is named as the “Contact” on that site.

Obviously, there hasn’t been time for Mr. Paquette to reply. When he does, I will post his answers.

Sept 23, 2014: Spreading Raw Septage on “Farm Fields” – NOT!

Like many or most others, I am supportive of the concept of the bio-digester. However, the jury is out on two vital questions:

1. Does it work?
2. If so, at what cost?

I am definitely not supportive of Chatsworth Leaders providing less than the complete, unvarnished truth, however. And I am appalled by what appears to be their attempts to frighten Chatsworth residents by using language that seems intended to misinform.

The most egregious recent example ot this is the insert in the tax notices distributed to every property owner in Chatsworth in early July. It says in four places (I did the highlighting) that septage is spread on “farm fields.”

Most people understand “farm fields” as places where food is grown for people and cattle, so “spreading on farm fields” leads to unpleasant thoughts about contents of septic tanks getting into the food chain. However, it is illegal to spread septage on such fields; rather, septage is spread on vacant non-agricultural land approved by the Ministry of the Environment for that specific purpose.

The Ministry of the Environment is responsible for ensuring that there are no nearby wells, rivers, ponds, lakes, streams or drainage ditches, and applies restrictions about the timing of application. This allows the septage to be “treated” by sunshine, oxygen, plants and microbial activity in the soil.

Our Leaders know this, of course, so it is difficult to understand how their references to “farm fields” are anything other than attempts to mislead and frighten, and take the focus away from the two questions above.

This choice of words is not just misleading; it implies that septage contractors act irresponsibly and illegally. Septage contractors who spread anywhere but vacant land approved for that purpose risk serious fines and could even lose their businesses.

I expect more of our Leaders!


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