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City defends funky fertilizer

Staff at Halifax City Hall are hoping to continue the use of biosolids as fertilizer in the HRM.

Staff at Halifax City Hall are hoping to continue the use of biosolids as fertilizer in the HRM.

Questions about the use of biosolids — fertilizer partially made up of treated human waste — came up last month, after residents near Dunbrack Street complained about a strong odour emanating from a biosolid test area in their neighbourhood.

A staff report on the issue was requested by area Coun. Debbie Hum, who voiced the residents’ concerns at a regional council meeting on August 17.

At the time, Hum was upset because the public was not better informed about the use of biosolids in their neighbourhood. HRM has since admitted it could have done more to provide information.

But a staff report to be tabled at tomorrow’s council meeting defends the use of the fertilizer, noting advantages to HRM’s urban-forest objectives.

"Supporting growth of our Urban Forest is a community objective, and a measured performance indicator for corporate performance," the report reads. "As such, based on the rationale, staff believes that this HRM N-Viro program will provide for the success of utilization of urban forestry plantings."

The report states that the odour at the Dunbrack Street site was not foreseen either by staff or by an environmental consultant attached to the project. The report also hypothesizes that it was because of high heat and humidity at the site that the smell lingered longer than anticipated.

While the staff report recommends the continued use of biosolids within the urban core, council can opt to discontinue or limit its use.

 
 
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