British Columbia Mine Reclamation Symposium

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


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.

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