Ontario are asking the provincial government to regulate all paper sludge mixtures as waste materials. On November 21, a large majority of 350 Ontario Federation of Agriculture directors and delegates supported a resolution crafted by Frank Sommer, a long-time member of the Haldimand Federation of Agriculture (HFA).
The resolution points out that waste products made from paper sludge — a byproduct of recycling — such as NitroSorb, are exempted from environment regulations and the Nutrient Management Act. Blends of paper fibre and other materials are also applied in “possibly damaging quantities as an obvious waste option” unrelated to soil benefits. The resolution urges the Ontario government to keep waste products destined for blending under environment regulations from processing to application on farmland. Application should be done under a ministry approval certificate.
Currently NitroSorb is considered a product by the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and as such is not regulated under provincial waste laws.
The resolution will be sent to the OFA environment committee and to the Ontario environment and agricultural ministries. Some OFA members say that if the government cannot study long-term use, the job could be handed to the Ontario Soil and Crop Improvement Association. Ongoing sampling would help farmers in matching mixture application to soil type and to cover off changes in the mix due to different inks used by different companies.
In January the HFA met with the environment ministry and agriculture ministry representatives, manufacturers of NitroSorb and farmers. After the meeting the HFA prepared a resolution asking the ministry to require random but regular sampling of non-agricultural source material destined for land application. The group wants tests for product composition, pathogens and metals, plus a study of 10-year soil impacts.
The HFA request came one month after 8,000 cubic metres of NitroSorb was deposited on an Irish Line farm. Neighbours grew concerned about the material and its impact on the environment and human health.
With the provincial farm organization, 37,000 farmers are requesting regulation.
For more information, contact Deb Vice at firstname.lastname@example.org