Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc Chiefs Stand United Against Biosolids

March 15, 2016


Kamloops, BC (March 15th, 2016) – Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc Chiefs met Thursday, March 10th at the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council in Kamloops, BC to discuss their concerns with biosolid waste dumping on our traditional territories.  The Chiefs unanimously agreed to work in collaboration as Nations to find acceptable solutions to this issue.  The ultimate goal is to have all biosolid dumping within our traditional territories come to an end.

“We believe the practice of using biosolids in agricultural lands and on our life sustaining ecosystems can be completely eradicated if we work together.  This is not just an issue for First Nations people.  This is an issue for everyone as we all need the land to be healthy if we are to be healthy. You get what you give.  Moving forward, we need to be utilizing the most cutting edge technologies to offset the toxic waste from being transported directly onto the land and into our water systems. We need to rely on traditional Indigenous knowledge as it’s the best way we can protect the environment,” stated Kukpi7 Wayne Christian, Tribal Chief of the Shuswap Nation Tribal Council.

“We view this land application of biosolids as nothing more than a method of cheap toxin dispersal for big cities. They attain a cleaner environment while the people living in these areas are expected to take the poisonous burden on their shoulders. This practice is impacting the soil, water and air we all rely on for our lives. First Nations peoples are particularly vulnerable to this accumulating low-level toxic build up, as this sewer sludge is sprayed into the forests and on the meadows, jeopardizing the traditional practices of gathering foods and medicines, as well as potentially threatening the safety of hunting and fishing,” expressed Chief Aaron Sam of the Lower Nicola Indian Band.

“Biosolids” is the waste-water industry’s name for the sewer sludge left over after the facilities have done the job of cleaning the water. It represents everything cities pour down their drains – fecal matter, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, solvents, cleaners – everything. The sewer sludge companies “sell” this highly concentrated and toxic material on to the ranchers, farmers, and forestry people as something “beneficial” because it does indeed contain things plants like – nitrogen and phosphorous for example. However, the toxic contaminants have not been removed, only some of the easy-to-kill pathogens and bacteria are taken care of in the treatment process. The rest of these dangerous toxins are applied to our lands where they can easily enter the food chain.

There are alternatives! New methods of gasification or pyrolysis will rid the sludge of its toxins and at the same time return energy to the grid. This is the direction the government should be going. The Nlaka’pamux and Secwepemc Chiefs are committed to work together on this issue until we can find better way forward.

Media Contacts:

Chief Wayne Christian – 250-503-7072;

Chief Aaron Sam – 250-315-7563;

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