British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

Biosolids in BC's Southern Interior : a case study on public risk perception and factors influencing… Whitehouse, S.; Fraser, L.; Tsigaris, P. 2018

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BIOSOLIDS IN BC’S SOUTHERN INTERIOR: A CASE STUDY ON PUBLIC RISK PERCEPTION AND FACTORS INFLUENCING PUBLIC ATTITUDES S. Whitehouse1 L. Fraser2 P. Tsigaris3  1 MSc Candidate, Faculty of Science 2 Professor, Department of Natural Resource Science 3 Professor, Department of Economics Thompson Rivers University 900 McGill Road Kamloops, BC, V2C 0C8  ABSTRACT The land application of biosolids continues to be subject to questions and concerns. A gap exists between public perception of biosolids and the promotion of the safety and sustainability of current waste management practices that convert sewage sludge to biosolids. Within the Southern Interior of BC, there is opposition amongst a segment of the population regarding the land application of biosolids. Through a mail-out survey, the communities of Kamloops, Merritt and Princeton were assessed to gain a better understanding of public perceptions of biosolids risks and factors which influence public attitudes towards biosolids management. Two thousand surveys were distributed proportionately between the communities. Response rates for Kamloops and Merritt were 22 and 24 percent respectively. Surprisingly no responses were received from Princeton. Kamloops and Merritt generally identified differing risk perceptions around the management of biosolids, where Kamloops was found to be more accepting in their overall perceptions. This is a likely result of Merritt residents’ recent experience with application sites and proximity to biosolids projects, and the associated local media attention. Results from Kamloops highlighted there is general support to find a productive use of biosolids, but a lack the overall trust necessary for a biosolids project to receive stable community support.  Key words: community engagement, public opinion survey   INTRODUCTION AND RELEVANCE In Canada, the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) encourage the beneficial use of municipal biosolids, while maintaining protection of the environment and human health. Beneficial management includes practices such as composting, agricultural land application and combustion for energy. However, in some municipalities, biosolids are disposed of in landfills or incinerated without energy capture rather than being used in a beneficial manner (CCME 2012). In BC, and across Canada, biosolids are often used as a soil amendment for improving soils and plant growth (CCME 2012; McCarthy and Loyo-Rosales 2015). Using biosolids as a soil amendment offers advantages such as improving the quality of degraded soils through enabling increased plant productivity and improved soil carbon storage capacity (Robinson et al. 2012) as well as reducing the amount of material otherwise destined for landfilling or incineration and the greenhouse gas generation associated with these practices. As of recent, biosolids management is a salient topic within the Thompson-Nicola interior region of BC. To address public concerns, there is a need to better understand the public’s perception of biosolids as well as how people would prefer to see biosolids managed. Gray literature is material that is made public but not subject to the traditional academic peer‐review processes (i.e. newspaper articles); this material is considered a valuable resource for understanding the public perceptions and concerns for controversial matters (Beecher et al. 2004). Considering grey literature is of particular significance when evaluating the recent opposition against biosolids present within the Thompson-Nicola interior region of BC. Concerns with biosolids management practices within the Thompson-Nicola interior region of BC appear to go back to 2008 where concerns expressed are similar to the ones currently being communicated today. There has been a strong, steady opposition by some groups in this area since late 2014. In Sunshine Valley Estates just east of Merritt, B.C. biosolids from the central Okanagan were destined for land application on a site just above the housing development and close to their drinking water intake. As outlined in the local newspaper, the Merritt Herald, residents expressed concern over harm to their air quality, contamination of their drinking water source, and decreased property value (Potestio 2014 Dec 11). After expressed local opposition, in December 2014 the First Nations Chiefs of the Nicola Valley submitted a letter to the Ministry of Environment demanding that all current biosolids applications cease and no new projects proceed until the Crown and ministry regulators establish a meaningful dialogue. As a result, a moratorium was enacted to stop the importation of biosolids into the Nicola Valley on April 24th, 2015 by the five First Nation’s chiefs from Upper Nicola. While the moratorium is still in effect at this time, there has since been much discussion on applicable regulation and associated practices. The practise of the land application of biosolids continues to be subject to questions and concerns. Concerns are raised about anything that might be disposed of down the drain that may potentially impact biosolids quality. The concept of “perception is reality” is a challenge that biosolids managers are faced with overcoming. There are however, processes for engaging concerned or impacted communities and other stakeholders to understand and review options regarding potentially controversial natural resource projects.  One of these approaches is the “beyond compliance” approach of seeking proactive community support from stakeholders through meaningful early engagement. This proactive approach considers concerns that may otherwise lead to project delays or prohibitions, as well as seeks alignment with local community interests (Moffat and Zhang 2014). As an explanation to why a proponent may go beyond compliance, Lunch-Wood and Williamson (2018) propose five factors that potentially drive social interest: (1) Environmental impacts of product and process, (2) Customer power, (3) Customer interest, (4) Corporate/brand visibility and (5) Community pressure. They suggest at least two of these factors must be salient to drive a beyond compliance approach (Lynch-wood and Williamson 2018). This paper assesses community perceptions of biosolids management risks in Kamloops and Merritt against the overarching concepts necessary to obtain community support. This approach provides a framework to understand how to most effectively address the differences between the public perception of biosolids and the promotion of the safety and sustainability of current waste management practices. This research should aid policy makers, regulators, and biosolids management in developing and implementing publicly successful biosolids management programs providing a stakeholder-centric approach around potentially controversial natural resource projects. METHODS A mail-out survey was distributed to Kamloops, Merritt, and Princeton, BC, to determine the factors that influence public attitudes and risk perception towards the use of biosolids. The survey was designed in a manner consistent to survey methodology as outlined by professionals in the field (Dillman 1991; Sanchez 1992; Dillman, Smyth, and Christian 2014). The survey design included an introductory statement about the study and a brief explanation about biosolids. The explanation was kept brief in order to best establish the baseline knowledge of the respondent. The survey consisted of 37 questions and was arranged into the following section sections:  • Section one: Sociodemographic information; • Section two: General knowledge, attitudes and actions.  • Section three: Thoughts and Feelings towards biosolids; • Section four: Willingness to pay for alternative biosolids management practices • Section five: Comments and feedback For the purpose of this paper, we will be focussing on Sections one, two and three. The survey sample selection and distribution was handled by MailWorks, a third-party mailing service. Canadian consumer lists, available at https://infogroup.infocanada.ca/, were utilized to select random samples within each community. MailWorks proportionally distributed the survey to the individual community on May 20, 2016, resulting in Kamloops receiving 1761, Merritt 173 and Princeton 66 surveys where an overall response rate of 22% was achieved (Table 2).      Table 1 Independent variable for logistic regression of influencing factors of thoughts and feelings on biosolids. Variable Name Description Gender Gender Gender of the Respondent (1 = Male, 0 = Female) Age  (base case: Age 18-50) Age5064 Respondents who are of the age of 50-64 years old (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Age65+ Respondents who are of the age of 65 years or older (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Children Child Respondents who have children currently living at home (1= Yes, 0 = No) Education  (base case: highest level of education some college or trade school graduate) EduPTC Respondents whose highest level of education is some college or trade school (1 = Yes, 0 = No)  EduGTC Respondents whose highest level of education is college or trade school graduate  (1 = Yes, 0 = No)  EduUni Respondents whose highest level of education is university graduate (bachelors degree) (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Environmentalist Enviro Respondents opinion of how applicable the term "Environmentalist" applies to them (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Disagree) Location  (base case: residents live in Kamloops) Merritt Respondents whose residence was located in Merritt (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Rural Residence (base case: Urban/Suburban) RuralNF Respondents who live in non-farm rural area (1 = Yes, 0 = No) RuralAg Respondents who live in rural agriculture area (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Home sewage system   (base case: septic tank or other/don't know) MuniSewer Respondents who's home is connected to a municipal sewer system (1=Yes, 0=No) Community Biosolids Management BioMngt Respondents who know how Biosolids are managed in their community ( 1 = Yes, 0 = No) Income   (base case: respondents for whom annual household income was less than $50,000) Inc50100 Respondents for whom annual household income was in the range $50,000 to $100,000 (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Inc100+ Respondents for whom annual household income was $100,001 or more (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Aboriginal Aboriginal Respondents who identify as Aboriginal (1 = Yes, 0 = No) Waste Management WasteMngt Respondents level of concern regarding Waste Management (1 = Not Concerned, 5 = Very Concerned) Biosolids Familiarity BioEd Respondents opinion of how familiar they were with the term "Biosolids" prior to receiving the survey (1 = Not Familiar, 5 = Extremely Familiar) Descriptive statistics were generated for all questions. All statistical analysis of the survey data was performed using IHS MarKit EViews (version 10).  In order to assess how emotions are influenced by familiarity with biosolids risks and management, ordered logistic regressions were run for the cumulative dataset. Table 1 provides details on these explanatory variables.  It was found however, that whether respondents were from Kamloops or Merritt was a significant variable in 75% of the results. Consequentially, the two datasets were considered as separate and individual ordered logistic regressions were run for each community. These results, separated into the positively and negatively framed statements, can be found in Appendix A. Where limited responses were obtained for a specific independent variable, categories were combined to preserve degrees of freedom. Simple t-tests were run to test for neutrality, where mean responses of the attitude statements were assessed against a neutral response of 3. Further to that, Satterthwaite-Welch t-test’s were performed to assess the mean responses between Kamloops and Merritt for all twelve attitude statements to determine if the communities demonstrated significantly different attitudes.  As a method to understand the most predominant thoughts surrounding biosolids, a visual depiction of responses to the questions “What comes to mind when you think of biosolids?” was created using the online tool, WordleTM. This tool generates word clouds where greater prominence is given to words that appear more frequently in the text provided. All text from responses to the question was included, only edited for spelling corrections. The word cloud was formatted to exclude common English words (i.e. “the” or “and”). RESULTS AND DISCUSSION A total of 423 surveys were returned (including 2 blank) for a 22% return rate. Some surveys were only partially completed but still contained usable data for some questions, this information was included in the results. A total of 421 surveys were used in the final analysis. Response rates for Kamloops and Merritt were 22 and 24 percent respectively; no survey responses were received from Princeton (Table 2). The lack of survey response from Princeton suggests that this may not be a significant topic within the community, Princeton is not further discussed in this paper. In general, Kamloops and Merritt identified differing risk perceptions around the management of biosolids. Kamloops respondents demonstrated more neutral-accepting perceptions relative to Merritt respondents.  General Knowledge, Attitudes and Actions When asked “What comes to mind when you think of biosolids?” respondents demonstrated general familiarity with the term (Figure 1). This aligns with the individual community responses reporting average familiarity to be within the range of “Somewhat Familiar” to “Moderately Familiar,” as demonstrate below in Table 3. For the ordered logistic regression analysis carried out to assess the twelve attitude statements, two questions asked in the general questions section were considered Table 2. Community response rates based on 423 surveys. Community  Number Mailed Number Returned Community Response Rate Kamloops 1761 382 22% Merritt 173 41 24% Princeton 66 0 0%   Figure 1. Visual depiction of responses to "What comes to mind when you think of biosolids?" Table 3. Before receiving this survey, how familiar were you with the term biosolids?     Kamloops   Merritt How do you feel about Waste Management? (1 = Not Concerned; 5 = Very Concerned)   Not Concerned 4.7 % 0.0 %  Slightly Concerned 11.9 % 5.0 %  Somewhat Concerned 41.1 % 27.5 %  Moderately Concerned 27.2 % 30.0 %  Very Concerned 15.1 % 37.5 %  average 3.5 4.0 Before receiving this survey, how familiar were you with the term “biosolids”?   (1 = Not Familiar; 5 = Very Familiar)   Not Familiar 8.8 % 2.5 %  Slightly Familiar 16.0 % 10.0 %  Somewhat Familiar 27.4 % 17.5 %  Moderately Familiar 39.1 % 60.0 %  Extremely Familiar 8.8 % 10.0 %  average 3.2 3.7  along with the sociodemographic variables as independent variables. The first one assessed the respondents’ level of concern regarding waste management. This question was included because concern for waste management goes beyond the management of wastewater residuals, as such this can be considered an independent factor. Second, respondents were asked to identify their level of familiarity with the term biosolids prior to receiving the survey. These results are presented in Table 3. Both communities reported being somewhat to moderately concerned with waste management and somewhat to moderately familiar with Biosolids. However in general, Merritt respondents reported stronger responses to both questions.  T-tests identified Merritt respondents as significantly more concerned with waste management than Kamloops respondents (p=0.0058). Merritt respondents also reported to be significantly more familiar with the term biosolids (p=0.0201). This is a likely result of Merritt residents’ recent experience with application sites and proximity to biosolids projects, and the associated local media attention. THOUGHTS AND FEELINGS The series of attitude statements, in the order which they were presented in the survey, are summarized in Table 4. Sentiment was based on tone of the statement being positively or negatively framed. Community support factors were based on the following definitions as defined by Boutilier and Thompson in their conceptual model of social license to operate (Boutilier and Thomson 2011): • Legitimacy: Perception that the company/project offers benefit to the perceiver. • Trust: Willingness to be vulnerable to risk or loss through actions of another.  Legitimacy Kamloops respondents perceived greater value in the land application of biosolids relative to Merritt respondents. Kamloops respondents were more likely to agree with the positively framed questions and disagree with the negatively framed question. This is the reverse for responses from Merritt residents. Kamloops respondents generally agreed with the statement, “Biosolids are a valuable resource that should be used as a fertilizer,” this is in contrast to Merritt respondents who reported a general disagreement with the statement. These responses were paralleled for the statements, “Using biosolids as a fertilizer is better than incineration or landfilling” and “Using biosolids as a fertilizer in our community will bring economic benefits.” Conversely, Kamloops respondents were less likely to agree with this statement “The risks to public health of using biosolids as a fertilizer outweigh the benefits,” where Merritt respondents more likely to agree with the statement. Of the twelve attitude statements, Kamloops most strongly agreed with the statement, “Using biosolids as a fertilizer is better than incineration or landfilling,” suggesting the community supports productive uses of biosolids. Legitimacy - Positive Statements   Results from the logistic regression for the Kamloops dataset indicate that the level of familiarity with the term biosolids significantly influences the responses to, “Biosolids are a valuable resource that should be used as a fertilizer,” where those who were more familiar with the term biosolids were more likely to agree that biosolids are a valuable resource (p=0.0005). Interestingly, although Merritt respondents reported being more familiar with the term biosolids, familiarity was not a significant variable for the Merritt dataset. For the Kamloops respondents, additional significant variables included those who identified as living on rural agricultural land (p=0.025) and those whose wastewater is managed by a municipal sewer system (p=0.0362) to be more likely to agree with the statement. This may suggest the general public is more trusting than perhaps those who are on septic systems and thus have the potential to be more impacted by land application projects. This assumes that those of the “general population” are towards the urban/suburban center and that those on septic system are in rural areas, where land application projects are more likely to take place.  Female Merritt respondents were significantly less likely to agree with the statement, “Using biosolids as a fertilizer is better than incineration or landfilling,” than males (p= 0.0308). This is consistent with the findings of Robison et al, where women were found to perceive higher health and safety risks regarding biosolids projects (Robinson et al. 2012). Those who were concerned with waste management (p= 0.0267) or have a completed a college diploma or trades school (p=0.0360) were also less likely to agree with the statement. Alternatively, for Kamloops respondents neither gender nor familiarity were significant factors. Those who were university graduates (p=0.0154) or earned an annual household income over $100,000 (p=0.0183) were more likely to agree with the statement.  Legitimacy - Negative Statements   For Kamloops respondents, income was found to be the most significant variable (p=0.0544) regarding the statement, “The risks to public health of using biosolids as a fertilizer outweigh the benefits.” Those who earned an annual household income that ranged from $50,000-$100,000, were less likely to agree with this statement. Age (p=0.0547), gender (p=0.0544) and education (p=0.0711) were also found to be marginally significant variables, where Kamloops respondents who are 65+ years old, female, or whose highest level of education is the completion of some college or trades school, were more likely to agree with the statement. Similarly, for Merritt respondents gender (p=0.0108), level of education (0.0285) and level of concern about waste management (p=0.0082) were found to be significant. Those who are from Merritt and     Table 4. Overview of thoughts and feelings questions variables and assigned sentiment and social capital indicator. Variable Description Sentiment Community Support Factor Deviation from Neutral–  Kamloops Response Deviation from Neutral–  Merritt Response t-Test Comparison of Means - Kamloops and Merritt responses (p-value) S3Q1 1. Biosolids are a valuable resource that should be used as a fertilizer Positive Legitimacy 0.62 (0.0000) -0.51 (0.0276) 0.0000 S3Q2 2. Not enough is known about biosolids Negative Trust 0.81 (0.0000) 0.85 (0.0000) 0.8138 S3Q3 3. Using biosolids as a fertilizer is better than incineration or landfilling Positive Legitimacy 0.83 (0.0000) -0.32 (0.1760) 0.0000 S3Q4 4. The use of biosolids as a fertilizer makes me concerned about my surrounding environment Negative Trust 0.25 (0.0000) 0.95 (0.0000) 0.0005 S3Q5 5. Biosolids receive adequate treatment at the wastewater treatment plant to protect public health Positive Trust 0.25 (0.0000) -0.49 (0.0292) 0.0017 S3Q6 6. My family would be at a higher health risk if my neighbours applied biosolids to their land Negative Trust  -0.15 (0.0101) 0.56 (0.0056) 0.0008 S3Q7 7. My family would be at a higher health risk if my neighbours applied animal manure to their land Negative Trust  -0.66 (0.0000) -0.75 (0.0000) 0.5909 S3Q8 8. I trust government regulatory agencies to monitor the safe use of biosolids  Positive Trust -0.12 (0.0556) -0.41 (0.0000) 0.0395 S3Q9 9. The odor emitted by biosolids is harmful to my health when breathed Negative Trust  -0.05 (0.3569) 0.46 (0.0183) 0.0117 S3Q10 10. The risks to public health of using biosolids as a fertilizer outweigh the benefits Negative Legitimacy -0.38 (0.0000) 0.56 (0.0088) 0.0001 S3Q11 11. Using biosolids as a fertilizer in our community will bring economic benefits Positive Legitimacy 0.14 (0.0046) -0.63 (0.0004) 0.0000 S3Q12 12. Even if used properly, biosolids can still lead to land or water contamination Negative Trust 0.19 (0.0013) 0.49 (0.0234) 0.1718 Note: Community responses were ranked on a Likert scale of 1-5 (1 = Strongly Disagree, 5 = Strongly Disagree) and are reported as mean response deviation from neutral (neutral response =3). P-value of test for neutrality (mu=3.0) are given in parenthesis.  are female, have completed college or trade school or are concerned about waste management were more likely to agree with this statement. The significance of gender continues to support the notion that women perceive higher health and safety risks for biosolids projects. Trust Kamloops respondents displayed a higher level of trust regarding the land application of biosolids when compared to Merritt respondents. Kamloops respondents were generally more likely to agree with the positively framed questions and disagree with the negatively framed question than Merritt respondents. Both communities reported to equally disagree with the statement, “My family would be at a higher health risk if my neighbours applied animal manure to their land” (p=0.5909). When assessing these responses against responses to the statement, “My family would be at a higher health risk if my neighbours applied biosolids to their land,” Merritt respondents’ agreement with this statement indicates that residents perceive a higher health risk when exposed to biosolids when compared to manure. This was not paralleled by Kamloops respondents, where although responses were generally in stronger disagreement to the statement regarding manure, weak disagreement with the biosolids exposure statement supports that the community may not identify a distinction between the health and safety risks from biosolids and manure exposure. Surprisingly, responses to the statements, “Not enough is known about biosolids” and “Even if used properly, biosolids can still lead to land or water contamination” were not considered to statistically differ between communities. “Not enough is known about biosolids” was also found to be the statement both Kamloops and Merritt reported the second strongest response to. This suggests that respondents may have an overall lack of comfort with their personal level of knowledge or that there is a perceived lack of information on the topic. Merritt respondents most strongly responded to the statement, “The use of biosolids as a fertilizer makes me concerned about my surrounding environment,” and although Merritt respondents were significantly more likely to agree, Kamloops respondents also generally agreed with this statement. Similarly, both communities disagreed with the statement, “I trust government regulatory agencies to monitor the safe use of biosolids,” however Merritt respondents had a significantly stronger response than Kamloops respondents (p= 0.0192). Although Kamloops was found to be generally more trusting regarding biosolids perceptions, agreement from both communities with the statements “Not enough is known about biosolids” and “Even if used properly, biosolids can still lead to land or water contamination” and disagreement with “I trust government regulatory agencies to monitor the safe use of biosolids” demonstrate a general lack of trust in the current regulatory structure and scientific knowledgebase.  Trust - Positive Statements For Kamloops respondents, there was only one significant variable identified for the statement, “Biosolids receive adequate treatment at the wastewater treatment plant to protect public health.” It was found that those who identified as living on rural agricultural land were significantly more likely to agree with the statement (p=0.0029). In contrast to this, Merritt respondents who were female (p=0.0241), had completed college, trade school (p=0.0081) or a university degree (p=0.0386), or were concerned about waste management (p=0.0074) were less likely to agree the statement. Interestingly, responses to “I trust government regulatory agencies to monitor the safe use of biosolids” reported conflicting results between the communities despite the aligned distrust in government oversight. Kamloops respondents who identified as living on rural agricultural land (p=0.0269) or who had completed a university degree or higher (p=0.0023) were significantly more likely to agree with the statement, this is in stark contrast with Merritt respondents where education was also found to be a significant variable, however those who completed a university degree or higher were more likely to disagree (p=0.0407) with the statement. Respondents who were concerned about waste management were also significantly more likely to disagree for both Kamloops (p=0.0536) and Merritt (p=0.0041). Kamloops responses from those who identified as living on rural agricultural land remain consistent, supporting the assumption that people with agricultural experience are more likely to understand and accept the practice of land application of biosolids as reported in the 2002 survey completed by Beecher et al (2004). Trust - Negative Statements Interestingly, for all statements identified as negative and informing trust, Kamloops respondents who identified as being concerned about waste management were significantly more likely to agree. For Kamloops respondents, this trend is only observed with these negative statements and potentially implies the concept of loss aversion, where it is found that people tend to experience loss twice as painful as they experience gains and thus try to avoid a loss more than try to pursue a similar gain (Samson, Loewenstein, and Sutherland 2014). As described above, trust requires being vulnerable to risk or loss through actions of another, and framing statements in a way that poses potential harm to human health or contamination of the environment may warrant a stronger emotional response than a reciprocal positive statement.  Consistent with both positively and negatively framed statements, Merritt respondents who identified as being concerned about waste management were also significantly more likely to agree with the majority of the attitude statements identified as negative and informing trust, suggesting that Merritt respondents concern for waste management may be closely tied to the community’s recent experience with application sites and proximity to biosolids projects and the associated local media attention.  This supports the notion presented by Beecher et al. (2004) that public’s mind is a relatively blank slate regarding the knowledge of biosolids and that the public’s perception may be significantly influenced by their first introduction to the topic. When considering broad public awareness regarding biosolids is low (Beecher et al. 2004; Robinson et al. 2012; Youngquist et al. 2015; McCarthy and Loyo-Rosales 2015), community outrage and the resulting media attention has the potential to be the first introduction to general community members on the topic.  Further to that, in alignment with the above results, Kamloops respondents who identified as living on rural agricultural land are significantly more likely to disagree with these negatively framed statements. This continues to support the notion that people with agricultural experience are more likely to understand and accept the practice of land application of biosolids. The statement, “My family would be at a higher health risk if my neighbours applied animal manure to their land,” is the one exception where Kamloops respondents on rural agricultural land was not identified as significant. This statement however, was included as a control to assess how respondents perceive animal manure compared to biosolids. Consistent with above, Merritt respondents who are female were significantly more likely to agree with the statement.  Gender was also found to be a significant variable for Kamloops respondents regarding the statement “Not enough is known about biosolids,” where females were significantly more likely to agree with the statement than males (p<0.0000). Additionally, it was found that those whose wastewater is managed by a municipal sewer system and are from Kamloops are significantly more likely to disagree with the majority of the negative trust related statements. Obtaining Community Support Common challenges often experienced in attempting to obtain community support are public risk perception and transparency on risk management. It is found that risks associated with health, safety and environment can be difficult to effectively engage on because of the generally low level of public trust (Lincoln 2015).  When considering the roles of legitimacy and trust, it is suggested that legitimacy is necessary for acceptance, but trust is required for approval (Boutilier and Thomson 2011; Goven et al. 2012; Lincoln 2015). Boutilier and Thomson (2011) propose that legitimacy is a necessary but not sufficient condition for trust and that weak community support may be obtained with only legitimacy but this has the potential to fall through as stakeholders continue to take in new information. This is reflected in the three levels of community acceptance they propose: (1) Acceptance – basic level, where acceptance is considered a tentative willingness for the project to proceed; (2) Approval – established credibility, where stakeholder support is resistant to ideas projected by critics; and (3) Identification – full legitimacy and trust, where the community sees its future tied to the future of the project (shared interests) (Boutilier and Thomson 2011; Boutilier, Black, and Thomson 2012). It is worth considering that the basic level, “Acceptance,” may be more appropriately termed “Acquiescence,” as non-opposition does not necessarily imply acceptance.  Further to this, Hall et al. (2015) suggest that there is evidence to support that a social gap between public support for the general goal of more “sustainable” practices and the level of local support for specific projects. While the general public remains favourable to the idea of new technologies, host communities are not as supportive, thus there may be socio-political acceptance and market acceptance, but community acceptance is still lacking (Hall et al. 2015). This proposed social gap is supported by Kamloops and Merritt responses to this survey, where it is observed that the community that is reportedly less impacted by biosolids projects, Kamloops, is more supportive of biosolids projects than Merritt, where the topic of biosolids has become a rather controversial issue.  Kamloops respondents provide a good example of what Boutilier and Thomson (2011) and Thomson (2012) refer to as the basic level of community acceptance. Kamloops respondents prove to be supportive of productive uses of biosolids, however response means for statements regarding trust don’t stray too far from “Neutral,” suggesting that these views may be easily reassessed as new information is received. This is demonstrated by Kamloops residents responses to the statement “The odor emitted by biosolids is harmful to my health when breathed” (p=0.3569) and “I trust government regulatory agencies to monitor the safe use of biosolids” (p=0.0556), where responses were not found to significantly differ from neutral or where they were only marginally different from neutral. This is further supported by the perceived lack of knowledge about biosolids.  The opposition exhibited by Merritt residents demonstrates a clear lack of acceptance for biosolids land application projects. Merritt respondents generally perceived the land application of biosolids to offer unsuitable risk and a low level of value. As proposed above, without legitimacy, the project will not even make it to the basic level of community acceptance. In the case of Kamloops, where there’s the potential that legitimacy is somewhat established, weak project acceptance may be provided. Trust however, cannot be discounted. If trust is not established, there is a high probability of opposition with the host community.  Perceived environmental impacts related to biosolids projects can very quickly escalate, and although the BC government indicates that the OMRR is designed to be protective of human health and the environment there exists a general distrust in the government’s oversight on land application projects to be safely practiced. Further to that, it was demonstrated that the communities feel that not enough is known about biosolids. Combining this with project visibility, where complaints about odours and reports of environmental spills bring negative attention to the project, weak community support may be obtained but could quickly deteriorate as community members begin to seek more information.  If a host community has a strong negative experience, community interest and community pressure will continue to grow as projects continue to be proposed. And in the case of biosolids, where our nation is highly dependent on effective wastewater treatment, something must be done with the residuals. It is said that it takes a lot to get the public to care, but once they care it can be hard to shift that perception (Sandman 1993). Again, this is significant when considering the potential for perceptions to be significantly influenced by an individual’s first introduction to the topic. This emphasizes the risk that biosolids managers take when choosing not to proactively engage with the host community on projects, particularly within this region.  Within Kamloops and the broader Thompson Nicola Regional District (TNRD), workshops and working groups have been recently established to assess biosolids management options (Rothenburger 2018 May 4; Rothenburger 2018 May 25). While the TNRD has committed to assessing options to eliminate land application within the region, the Kamloops working group members have committed to an approach that will consider the economic, environmental and social impacts of different management options and establish a long term plan for the city’s biosolids – this approach doesn’t exclude the possibility of continued land application. These approaches are generally supported by the outcomes of this research, where the Lower Nicola Region of the TNRD has placed increasing pressure on all levels of government to move away from the practice of biosolids land application. Although pressure is growing in Kamloops, the opportunity to conduct more proactive engagement on different management practices still exists.  CONCLUSIONS This research supports the notion that the beyond compliance approach of conducting early engagement to proactively obtain community support may be valuable for any potentially controversial natural resource project, such as with biosolids land application projects. The findings of this survey can be used to assist with designing stakeholder-centric engagement around potentially controversial natural resource projects. Although expectations of each community will differ, several general conclusions can be drawn to support addressing risk perceptions associated with management and regulation: • Merritt residents who, in general, reported to be more familiar with biosolids and subsequent related issues within their community, demonstrated significantly stronger attitudes opposing land application practices than the reportedly less familiar Kamloops residents.  • Kamloops respondents who were generally more familiar with the term biosolids demonstrated significantly stronger attitudes towards support of the value biosolids offers as a fertilizer.  • Kamloops residents who reported to be more concerned with waste management, demonstrated significantly stronger attitudes against biosolids land application when attitude statements are negatively framed.   • While Merritt respondents reported significantly greater perceived health risks from exposure to biosolids than animal manure, Kamloops respondents generally disagreed that biosolids exposure would lead to increased health risks.  • Kamloops residents who reported to live on rural agricultural land had significantly stronger attitudes towards acceptance of biosolids land application practices. • Women were found to generally perceive significantly higher health and safety risks, this was particularly emphasized within the Merritt community where attitudes may be emotionally influenced.  • Based on the current knowledge base, neither community perceives there to be a strong enough body of knowledge on biosolids. • There is a general lack of trust in the government oversight for land application projects to ensure the safety of human health and the environment.  • Kamloops respondents support the general idea of recycling biosolids but lack the necessary overall trust for a biosolids project to receive stable social acceptance.  • Merritt respondents reported that the benefits of biosolids do not outweigh the perceived health and safety risks and that biosolids do not offer value as a fertilizer highlighting lack of overall community acceptance.  Limitations of the study were that cultural groups may not have been evenly distributed within the survey region, and thus may not be equally represented in these results. Additionally, Kamloops had a significantly larger dataset than Merritt, where conclusions could be drawn that couldn’t be compared against Merritt due to limitations in survey sample size. Further limitations of the study were that it was conducted in one region, and may not be applicable to areas outside the survey area.  Future work will use the contingent valuation section of our survey to measure the benefits of alternative uses of biosolids in dollar values at the individual level, which can then be aggregated to the community level. REFERENCES Beecher N, Connell B, Epstein E, Filtz J, Goldstein N, Lono M. 2004. Public Perception of Biosolids Recycling: Developing Public Participation and Earning Trust. Alexandria, VA. Boutilier RG, Black LD, Thomson I. 2012. From Metaphor to Management Tool – How the Social License to Operate can Stabilise the Socio-Political Environment for Business. In: International Mine Management 2012 Proceedings. Mebourne: Australia Institue of Mining and Metallurgy. p. 227–237. Boutilier RG, Thomson I. 2011. Modeling and Measuring the Social License to Operate: Fruits of a Dialogue Between Theory and Practice. In: Internation Mine Management Conference. Queensland. Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment. 2012. Canada-wide Approach for the Management of Wastewater Biosolids, version PN 1477. Dillman DA. 1991. The Design And Administration Of Mail Surveys. Annual Review of Sociology 17:225–249. Dillman DA, Smyth JD, Christian LM. 2014. Internet, Phone, Mail, and Mixed-Mode Surveys: The Tailored Design Method. Fourth. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley. Goven J, Langer ERL, Baker V, Ataria J, Leckie A. 2012. Community engagement in the management of biosolids: lessons from four New Zealand studies. Journal of environmental management 103:154–64. Hall N, Lacey J, Carr-cornish S, Dowd A. 2015. Social licence to operate : understanding how a concept has been translated into practice in energy industries. Journal of Cleaner Production 86:301–310. Lincoln A. 2015. Rethinking Social Licence to Operate – A Concept in Search of Definition and Boundaries. Business Council of BC: Environment and Energy Bulletin 7:1–10. Lynch-wood G, Williamson D. 2018. The Social Licence as a Form of Regulation for Small and Medium Enterprises. Journal of Law and Society 34:321–341. McCarthy L, Loyo-Rosales JE. 2015. Risks Associated with Application of Municipal Biosolids to Agricultural Lands in a Canadian Context - Literature Review. Canadian Municipal Water Consortium, Canadian Water Network. Moffat K, Zhang A. 2014. The paths to social licence to operate : An integrative model explaining community acceptance of mining. Resources Policy 39:61–70. Potestio M. 2014 Dec 11. Concern over biosolids spreading. Merritt Herald:1–3. Robinson KG, Robinson CH, Raup L a., Markum TR. 2012. Public attitudes and risk perception toward land application of biosolids within the south-eastern United States. Journal of Environmental Management 98:29–36. Rothenburger M. 2018 May 4. BIOSOLIDS – Kamloops sets up committee on ‘management options.’ ArmchairMayor.ca. Rothenburger M. 2018 May 25. TNRD – All-day session to look at alternatives to putting biosolids on land. ArmchairMayor.ca. Samson A, Loewenstein G, Sutherland R. 2014. The Behavioural Economics Guide 2014. First Edit. Samson A, editor. Sanchez ME. 1992. Effects of Questionnaire Design on the Quality of Survey Data. The Public Opinion Quarterly 56:206–217. Sandman PM. 1993. Responding to Community Outrage: Strategies for Effective Risk Communication. 1st ed. Fairfax, Virginia: American Industrial Hygiene Association. Youngquist CP, Goldberger JR, Doyle J, Jones SS. 2015. Public involvement in waste management research and decision-making : A case study. Regional Science Policy & Practice 7:103–161. APPENDIX A Table A-1 Section 3 Kamloops-Only Order Logit – Legitimacy: Positively Framed Statements Statement ID  Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q1 0.094 0.171 0.508 0.166 -0.372 -0.594* 0.427 0.278* 1.053* 2.514** 1.131** 0.016 -0.507 0.124 0.086 -0.139 0.397***  (0.237) (0.308) (0.369) (0.265) (0.356) (0.322) (0.314) (0.166) (0.610) (1.121) (0.540) (0.241) (0.320) (0.366) (0.865) (0.102) (0.115)                   S3Q3 -0.083 0.038 0.264 -0.038 0.392 -0.218 0.775** 0.167 0.506 1.032 0.509 0.003 -0.123 0.867** -0.393 0.014 0.059  (0.239) (0.320) (0.378) (0.273) (0.368) (0.327) (0.320) (0.167) (0.594) (1.009) (0.523) (0.246) (0.316) (0.367) (0.858) (0.104) (0.116)                   S3Q11 -0.289 0.491 0.543 0.311 0.330 -0.059 -0.111 0.124 0.640 1.504 0.168 -0.220 0.114 0.589 -0.444 0.058 -0.048  (0.239) (0.314) (0.381) (0.272) (0.371) (0.325) (0.312) (0.165) (0.584) (1.065) (0.534) (0.240) (0.319) (0.366) (0.789) (0.102) (0.113)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10. Description of independent variables can be found in Table 1; Attitude statement details can be found in Table 4.  Table A-2 Section 3 Kamloops-Only Order Logit – Legitimacy: Negatively Framed Statements Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q10 -0.449* 0.365 0.707* 0.226 0.624* 0.338 -0.478 -0.227 -0.292 -1.032 -0.474 0.029 0.631** 0.188 0.335 0.136 -0.204**  (0.233) (0.302) (0.368) (0.255) (0.346) (0.311) (0.305) (0.163) (0.564) (1.014) (0.515) (0.239) (0.319) (0.360) (0.752) (0.100) (0.113)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10. Description of independent variables can be found in Table 1; Attitude statement details can be found in Table 4.     Table A-3 Section 3 Kamloops-Only Order Logit – Trust: Positively Framed Statements Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q5 -0.381 0.010 0.321 -0.137 0.549 -0.084 0.333 -0.075 0.131 3.037*** 0.563 0.154 -0.360 -0.012 -0.130 -0.106 0.053  (0.238) (0.306) (0.371) (0.263) (0.362) (0.326) (0.307) (0.163) (0.593) (1.019) (0.557) (0.240) (0.326) (0.372) (0.898) (0.102) (0.112)                   S3Q8 -0.055 0.200 0.256 -0.028 0.199 0.326 0.931*** -0.164 -0.467 2.092** 0.132 0.151 -0.301 0.211 0.531 -0.195* 0.013  (0.230) (0.302) (0.375) (0.266) (0.350) (0.309) (0.305) (0.160) (0.581) (0.945) (0.508) (0.233) (0.316) (0.358) (0.746) (0.101) (0.109)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10. Description of independent variables can be found in Table 1; Attitude statement details can be found in Table 4.  Table A-4 Section 3 Kamloops-Only Order Logit – Trust: Negatively Framed Statements Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q2 -1.033*** -0.447 -0.384 -0.450* -0.035 -0.487 -0.275 -0.044 0.853 -1.975* -1.627*** -0.093 0.067 -0.127 0.490 0.363*** -0.176  (0.242) (0.317) (0.375) (0.267) (0.355) (0.319) (0.310) (0.171) (0.659) (1.024) (0.600) (0.240) (0.306) (0.349) (0.855) (0.104) (0.116)                   S3Q4 -0.374 0.237 0.531 0.151 -0.024 -0.141 -0.352 -0.279* -1.173** -1.690* -1.126** -0.126 0.084 -0.281 0.329 0.379*** -0.002  (0.231) (0.299) (0.368) (0.258) (0.352) (0.312) (0.298) (0.163) (0.578) (1.024) (0.507) (0.236) (0.311) (0.354) (0.796) (0.101) (0.111)                   S3Q6 0.177 0.385 0.479 0.180 0.341 0.795** -0.037 -0.329** -0.697 -2.039** -1.316** -0.175 0.338 -0.079 -0.020 0.379*** -0.178  (0.231) (0.299) (0.357) (0.254) (0.343) (0.312) (0.302) (0.164) (0.604) (1.030) (0.530) (0.237) (0.312) (0.351) (0.747) (0.101) (0.111)                   S3Q7 0.298 0.542* 0.916** 0.460* 0.564 0.317 0.487 -0.094 -1.022* -0.077 0.091 -0.069 -0.329 -0.271 -0.962 0.359*** -0.146  (0.233) (0.310) (0.373) (0.266) (0.351) (0.308) (0.304) (0.162) (0.611) (1.024) (0.511) (0.234) (0.315) (0.355) (0.862) (0.102) (0.109)                   S3Q9 -0.238 0.204 0.601 -0.340 0.088 -0.003 -0.496 -0.182 -0.015 -2.496** -0.152 -0.151 0.033 -0.171 0.200 0.241** -0.133  (0.235) (0.299) (0.370) (0.262) (0.355) (0.317) (0.306) (0.174) (0.600) (1.054) (0.490) (0.239) (0.312) (0.354) (0.810) (0.105) (0.109)                   S3Q12 0.086 -0.315 0.127 -0.082 0.030 0.556* 0.106 -0.275* -0.297 -2.504** -1.065** -0.315 -0.006 -0.528 0.737 0.224** -0.085  (0.229) (0.299) (0.364) (0.261) (0.348) (0.308) (0.299) (0.162) (0.565) (1.019) (0.512) (0.240) (0.311) (0.355) (0.789) (0.098) (0.110)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10. Description of independent variables can be found in Table 1; Attitude statement details can be found in Table 4. Table A-5. Section 3 Merritt-Only Order Logit – Legitimacy: Positively Framed Statements  Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q1 0.993 1.713 0.232 NA1 NA1 -1.007 -0.353 -0.058 -0.197 NA1 0.905 -1.283 -0.967 NA1 NA1 -0.836* -0.007  (0.953) (1.374) (1.837)   (1.046) (0.972) (0.500) (1.442)  (2.107) (0.881) (0.802)   (0.482) (0.458)                   S3Q3 2.040** 0.401 -2.624 NA1 NA1 -2.037* -0.276 -0.156 -1.711 NA1 -2.566 0.032 -0.787 NA1 NA1 -0.885* -0.287  (0.944) (1.264) (1.865)   (1.096) (0.922) (0.492) (1.350)  (2.118) (0.839) (0.726)   (0.475) (0.434)                   S3Q11 0.872 1.938 1.486 NA1 NA1 -1.078 -1.909** -0.410 0.705 NA1 1.823 -0.462 0.342 NA1 NA1 -0.579 0.029  (0.826 ) (1.330) (1.751)   (1.005) (0.880) (0.480) (1.215)  (1.820) (0.824) (0.742)   (0.426) (0.406)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10 1 Variables did not cover enough respondents in the Merritt dataset. Description of independent variables can be found in Table 1; Attitude statement details can be found in Table 4.  Table A-6. Section 3 Merritt-Only Order Logit – Legitimacy: Negatively Framed Statements  Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q10 -2.425** -0.709 1.905 NA1 NA1 2.549** 0.741 -0.305 0.277 NA1 1.553 0.178 -0.257 NA1 NA1 1.370*** -0.142  (0.951) (1.418) (1.957)   (1.164) (0.919) (0.503) (1.359)  (1.942) (0.870) (0.746)   (0.519) (0.431)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10 1 Variables did not cover enough respondents in the Merritt dataset.  Description of independent variables can be found in Table 1; Attitude statement details can be found in Table 4.     Table A-7. Section 3 Merritt-Only Order Logit – Trust: Positively Framed Statements  Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q5 1.969** 0.743 -0.966 NA1 NA1 -3.176*** -1.976** 1.043* -1.297 NA1 0.694 -0.315 0.437 NA1 NA1 -1.379*** 0.198  (0.873) (1.380) (1.827)   (1.200) (0.955) (0.534) (1.266)  (1.827) (0.812) (0.783)   (0.515) (0.410)                   S3Q8 0.813 0.665 -0.392 NA1 NA1 -2.022* -2.030** 0.637 -0.913 NA1 0.299 0.797 1.216* NA1 NA1 -1.508*** -0.040  (0.831) (1.256) (1.727)   (1.127) (0.992) (0.505) (1.245)  (1.797) (0.871) (0.726)   (0.526) (0.447)                   Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10 1 Variables did not cover enough respondents in the Merritt dataset. Table A-8. Section 3 Merritt-Only Order Logit – Trust: Negatively Framed Statements  Statement ID Gender Age5064 Age65+ Child EduPTC EduGTC EduUni Enviro RuralNF RuralAg Muni- Sewer Bio- Mngt Inc50100 Inc100+ Aboriginal Waste-Mngt BioEd                   S3Q2 0.419 2.508** NA1 NA1 NA1 0.052 -2.932*** -1.861*** 3.402** NA1 2.585 1.622* -2.552*** NA1 NA1 1.5067** -0.2319  (0.738) (0.982)    (0.994) (1.024) (0.570) (1.433)  (1.788) (0.859) (0..944)   (0.5116) (0.456)                   S3Q4 -1.482 0.569 1.209 NA1 NA1 1.576 0.109 -0.803 1.303 NA1 1.168 -0.203 -0.854 NA1 NA1 1.472*** 0.421  (0.927) (1.324) (1.802)   (1.115) (1.052) (0.501) (1.334)  (1.852) (0.870) (0.837)   (0.500) (0.436)                   S3Q6 -0.951 0.864 0.513 NA1 NA1 1.882* 0.722 -0.879* 0.773 NA1 -0.885 -0.017 -0.493 NA1 NA1 0.929** -0.541  (0.802) (1.309) (1.670)   (0.974) (0.876) (0.463) (1.198)  (1.710) (0.770) (0.726)   (0.416) (0.415)                   S3Q7 -2.053** 1.673 6.287*** NA1 NA1 1.107 0.739 -0.266 2.063 NA1 6.778*** -0.644 0.454 NA1 NA1 -0.393 0.517  (1.005) (1.460) (2.138)   (1.145) (0.849) (0.566) (1.640)  (2.479) (0.875) (0.804)   (0.507) (0.462)                   S3Q9 -2.036** -1.103 -0.143 NA1 NA1 -1.256 -0.189 -0.359 -0.552 NA1 -1.667 0.410 -0.391 NA1 NA1 1.376*** -0.076  (0.932) (1.317) (1.805)   (1.068) (0.921) (0.484) (1.552)  (1.967) (0.879) (0.718)   (0.484) (0.417)                   S3Q12 -1.400 1.350 2.398 NA1 NA1 1.393 0.767 -0.459 2.513 NA1 1.669 -0.374 -0.738* NA1 NA1 0.334 0.044  (0.863) (1.156) (1.631)   (0.953) (0.834) (0.462) (1.437)  (2.025) (0.785) (0.694)   (0.393) (0.414) Note: Logistic regression coefficients in log-odds units. Standard errors are given in parenthesis.  *** p <0.01; ** p<.05; * p<0.10 1 Variables did not cover enough respondents in the Merritt dataset.  

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