The Capital Regional District’s committee of the whole narrowly voted Wednesday to authorize a study of the economic and social implications of using sewage sludge as fertilizer.
The CRD currently bans the use of biosolids sludge — the leftovers from the sewage treatment process — from being used as fertilizer on public and farm land, due to concerns about chemical contamination and pharmaceuticals leaching into the soil.
However, the committee voted to authorize a staff study on lifting the ban. By allowing sludge to become fertilizer, the CRD could opt for less expensive technology in its planned biosolids facility and shave $50 million off the planned $783-million sewage treatment project.
The report has to return to the committee and the board before lifting the ban can be put to a vote.