Dawn-Euphemia council wants to make sure its firefighters aren’t putting out bio solids fires this year.
Over the last three years, farmers in the community have begun using bio solids as fertilizer. The compound, which comes from human waste, is legal but somewhat controversial. It can produce a strong odor and in Dawn-Euphemia, piles of the fertilizer have been known to spontaneously combust. That leads neighbours to call the fire department to put out the piles. Sometimes, backhoes have to be brought in to help.
David Buurma is with Lasalle Agri – a Lambton County company that provides bio solids to area farmers. He acknowledged to Dawn-Euphemia councillors that there have been problems with the product catching fire over the past three years.
He explained the company gets bio solids from three different communities and each one has a bit different composition. That means Lasalle Agri might pile some of the bio solids and they wouldn’t start on fire, while doing the exact same thing with a product from a different community would.
Buurma tries to deal with any problems as quickly as possible. He adds the use of bio solids is growing in Dawn-Euphemia; the company now brings enough bio solids into the municipality to fill a football field with the solids piled six feet high. “Complaints aren’t lowering but they’re not rising as sales increase,” he added.
Mayor Al Broad says the municipality understands bio solids are a legal product, which local farmers choose to use but he says the unpredictability of the bio solids is costing the municipality money. “It’s been three years now, we can’t continue to send firefighter out to bio solid piles,” says Broad.
“It’s not a problem with Lasalle or the product, it is the problem with the fires and when firefighters are called out, it costs us money.”