The Québec Superior Court has upheld the right of a municipality to ban the spreading of sewage sludge on agricultural land. In Ferme l’Evasion c. Elgin, the farmer wished to use sewage sludge to supply the missing phosphorus and other essential elements for its crops. The proposed application was acceptable to the Québec Ministry of the Environment and was supported by qualified economists. However, the municipality passed a bylaw prohibiting the use of sewage sludge and de inking residues on land within its boundaries.
The court found that experts disagree about the potential risks associated with the use of these residues, and that the municipality had jurisdiction to ban their use within its boundaries.