Biosolids cause stink in HRM
Actress Ellen Page among those speaking out against practice
"To be honest, I think biosolids are kind of an Orwellian term. I refer to it as 'sewage sludge,'" she told CBC News.
Biosolids — a controversial fertilizer that includes treated human waste — were spread on medians along Dunbrack Street in the Clayton Park neighbourhood.
Page said she supports sustainable permaculture practices such as composting toilets, but said the spreading of biosolids is a very different matter.
"It's taking industrial waste, waste from hospitals, businesses, households, full of man-made chemicals, highly toxic, proven carcinogens, radioactive material, and they're putting it on our soil. They're putting it into our ecosystem."
She is calling for more research and public input surrounding the use of the substance.
Coun. Debbie Hum said she has had calls from several constituents in Clayton Park since Thursday wondering if there was a sewer backup in the neighbourhood. Others complained they were getting physically ill from the smell, she said.
Hum said she wants to know why Halifax city council and the public weren't told about the use of the fertilizer mixture.
On Monday, authorities with the Halifax Regional Municipality admitted they had erred by not alerting residents that biosolids would be spread in the area.
"It's got a distinct smell, and I thought it almost smelled like a sewer," Hum said Sunday. She said she is concerned about what effect the mixture will have on people's health.
"Is it an appropriate use in an urban area? Is it appropriate in a rural suburban area, and is it appropriate at all?" Hum asked.
She said she wants to know why city staff wasn't up front about the use of biosolids and said she will try to get those answers at Tuesday's meeting of Halifax regional council.
City officials say the substance is safe and is processed to remove harmful chemicals and pathogens.
"There are no health concerns with this," said Richard MacLellan of the city's sustainable environment management office.
"Biosolids in Nova Scotia have the highest and most stringent regulations by far in Canada… I am absolutely confident that the soil we put down is much healthier than the soil that would be on any right of way in most of HRM."
CBC learned Monday that biosolids are also being used to fertilize newly-planted trees in Halifax's popular Point Pleasant Park.
Coun. Sue Uteck, who represents the area, said she was not informed of the use of biosolids in the park.