Application Of Biosolids On Farmland Successfully Defended

A recent decision reiterates the importance of credible expert evidence in litigation relating to contaminated property.

The Plaintiff claimed that well water on her property was contaminated as a result of the application of municipal sewage (biosolids) waste to the neighbouring farmland owned by the Defendant. She sought damages from the neighbouring property owner on the basis of negligence and nuisance. The Defendant subsequently brought a third party claim against Wessuc Inc, the company responsible for applying the biosolids, as well as against the company that was leasing the farm and had arranged for the application of the nutrient.

The Plaintiff did not allege that the application of the nutrients had been done unreasonably, but that desiccation cracks in the soil at the time of application resulted in a preferential pathway for the contaminants to enter her well water.

The Court dismissed the claim.

The application of the biosolids to the field had been approved by the Ministry of the Environment and Climate Change, and numerous protective measures had been undertaken to ensure no well water was affected.

Upon hearing a detailed analysis of the evidence, the Court was not convinced there was evidence of E. coli in the Plaintiff’s well water.  The Court was persuaded by the evidence of a Wessuc employee who was directly involved the events. By contrast, the Court found the Plaintiff’s expert evidence, provided by an engineering consultant, to be inconsistent and flawed.