Government Approves Tough New Biosolids Rules

first_imgThere are tough new standards for the storage and disposal ofbiosolids in Nova Scotia. Environment and Labour Minister Kerry Morash says the newguidelines — approved today, May 13 — bring more safety andcertainty to Nova Scotia’s waste water management programs. “Our goal was to find a safe, stable, long-term solution to thedisposal of materials left over from sewage treatment,” he said.”We’ve done that by adopting some of the toughest landapplication and storage rules to be seen in North America.” Biosolids are organic materials that are produced after thetreatment of sewage, septage and industrial sludges. Septagesludge is the solid material that remains after water is removedfrom the sediments pumped from a septic tank. Sewage sludge isthe residue generated during the treatment of sewage in atreatment plant. Only biosolids that have been treated to kill pathogens and tomeet certain chemical criteria will be approved for landapplication. The treatment must be applied by the generator ofthe material. All approvals for land application of untreatedsludges are cancelled. The new guidelines take effect Saturday, May 15. They will becomepart of any approval issued by the department for landapplication or storage of biosolids. That makes them fullyenforceable under the Environment Act. Current approval holders for land application or storage ofbiosolids will have to meet the technical standards of the newguidelines. Applicants for new approvals will also have to meetrequirements to conduct meaningful public consultation, toaddress concerns expressed at public consultations and to havewritten confirmation of compliance with any local bylaws orplanning regulations. “Nova Scotians were very clear in the comments made in the recentconsultation,” Mr. Morash said. “They want to be part of theapproval process and they want their local governments involvedtoo. These guidelines make sure that happens.” Mr. Morash said he understands many Nova Scotians want more timeto comment on how these materials are managed. “As a result,” hesaid, “we’re inviting public comment on these new guidelines allsummer and we’ll be making regular reports to Nova Scotians onthe results of a monitoring program that will measure the realeffects of land application on the environment.” Sludges and biosolids are organic materials, therefore it isagainst the law to bury them in landfills in Nova Scotia. Theonly other disposal options are land application andincineration. “There’s no suitable incinerator in Nova Scotia; and it’s againstour solid waste management strategy to landfill organicmaterials,” Mr. Morash said. “That’s why we’ve chosen to allowoperators to extract extra value from them and allow landapplication under very controlled conditions.” The new guidelines and instructions for filing comments areavailable on the Environment and Labour website atwww.gov.ns.ca/enla/ or by calling 1-800-567-7544. The guidelinesare also available at any Environment and Labour office.last_img