Spallumcheen targets water protection

The Township of Spallumcheen continues its push toward protecting all of its water sources

The Township of Spallumcheen continues its push toward protecting all of its water sources.

Mayor Janice Brown said meetings have been arranged with the ministry of environment and Shsuwap MLA Greg Kyllo to discuss the ongoing situation of the Hullcar aquifer, which as been under a water quality advisory for two years.

“We’re going to sit down and explain things to them,” said Brown.

“We’re really on top of things now and we want to keep that push on.”

A town hall meeting featuring representatives from various provincial ministries was held at Hullcar Hall in April.

Spallumcheen has also gotten full support from its municipal colleagues.

A motion calling for the Union of B.C. Municipalities to lobby the provincial government to require mandatory environmental farm plans, including soil testing, and that communities be allowed to limit uses in areas with sensitive vulnerable aquifers and waterbodies, was unanimously passed at the Southern Interior Local Government Association’s annual general meeting.

“The resolution will go to UBCM and it’s really just one step,” said Brown. “Anything going around aquifers, be it farms or industry, we have to protect the aquifers.”

High nitrate levels have been recorded in the Hullcar aquifer for two years with residents and professionals pointing to a dairy farm spraying liquid manure several times a year as the “likely source” of the contamination.

The province, however, refuses to name the farm as the source and, in a letter addressed to the township, will not share results with council or residents.

“I would like to assure you that the ministry has released all information we are able to legally,” wrote Mary Polack, provincial environment minister.

“The farm’s nutrient management plan has not been issued publicly as the publication of these documents would violate the federal Copyright Act. The information from the farm has been shared with the appropriate B.C. government ministries.

“The information was factored into Interior Health Authority’s decision to institute a water quality advisory, and was also provided to the ministry of agriculture by the ministry of environment when seeking professional advice on the farm’s applications for nutrient application.”

All information, said Polack, has been forwarded to the B.C. government experts as required to ensure protection of human health and the environment.