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The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment is wrapping up consultation on its proposed Canada-wide Approach for the Management of Wastewater Biosolids. The policy is intended to encourage the “beneficial
use and sound management of valuable resources in municipal biosolids, municipal sludge and treated septage.”The policy proposes that beneficial uses should be based on sound management that includes:

? Substantiation of the resource value (efficacy)
? Adherence to federal, provincial and municipal standards and regulations
? Strategies to minimize potential risks to the environment and human health and
minimizing emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Draft Supporting Principles are:
1. Municipal biosolids contain valuable nutrients and organic matter that can be recycled.

2. Adequate source reduction and treatment of municipal sludge, and treated septage
should effectively reduce pathogens, vector attraction, odours and substances of concern
in municipal biosolids.
3. Beneficial use of municipal sludge and treated septage should minimize the net
greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) resulting from treatment processes or municipal
biosolids use.

4. Beneficial uses and sound management practices of municipal biosolids and treated
septage must adhere to all applicable safety, quality and management standards and

The proposed policy seems to assume that sewage biosolids can be land applied, without causing adverse effects, if existing laws and standards are followed. It does include some evaluation of emerging substances of concern, such as pharmaceuticals, but lacks a clear framework for avoiding the land application of biosolids near vulnerable aquifers.

Comments can be sent to Eric Ogouma at [email protected]

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