Before we get too many armchair solutions to the Hullcar aquifer, let’s look at some of the scientific studies that have been completed.
First, the inter-ministry working team data dumped about 400 pages of the studies during the week of the public meeting at Hullcar Hall March 3 (complying with the order from the privacy commissioner), beginning on the Monday prior to the meeting right up to the Friday morning. Hence, little time was allowed for study before the meeting.
For those who attended the Friday evening session, it is easily gathered that the inter-ministry working group does not have an action plan in place.
The Golder report was a slide presentation with the lights on and with a mumbled explanation. Very few people could hear let alone understand what was being said. Questions were curtailed by the moderator.
What was not clearly stated was that the nitrate pollution is from cow manure.
The environmental impact assessment report on two of the farms assessed so far show high levels of nitrate contamination in the Hullcar aquifer in monitoring wells on two farms.
Orlando Schmidt, with the Ministry of Agriculture, stated that those of us who draw water from the aquifer will have get used to living with the nitrate contamination. If this is a ministry solution, it is really not acceptable to anyone. It has been plain to many that the nitrate contamination is coming from liquid manure since our water advisory of 2014. Tthe Golder report confirms that.
There are many suggestions about how to fix Steele Springs water problems. Hooking up to Armstrong or Otter Lake’s water supplies is not easily done when considering water licences and volume of water required. Even a suggestion of piping water from Shuswap Lake has been put forward.
These suggestions are stop-gap alternative proposals and are not feasible. None address the remediation of the aquifer or help those of us with private wells.
My suggestion would be to have the farm, the local dairy board and the B.C. Dairy Association solve the problem of nitrates in our aquifer.
The dairy industry may have 21st century milking parlours and robotics, etc., but manure management is akin to how it was handled in the dark ages.