The 5th Public Update for the City of Cranbrook Waste Water Treatment Disposal Systems Improvement was released this week, on March 8th 2011.
It is an informative report and can be requested from the Ministry of the Environment, 250-489-8540 or http://www.env.gov.bc.ca/ It is pleasing to read how the upgrades are proceeding.
Of interest are several questions from the public and the answers given. From the report comes one of several such items:
The Municipal Sewage Regulation (MSR) under the Environmental Management Act is the Provincial regulatory instrument that outlines the requirements for reclaimed water. The standards within the MSR have been developed by the Ministry of Environment to provide clear and effective requirements in order to protect public health and the environment.
Schedule 2 in the MSR outlines the Permitted Use and Standards for Reclaimed Water. In this schedule, under the restricted public access category, the requirement for use as pasture is: “…cattle must be prohibited from grazing for 3 days after irrigation ceases unless the meat is inspected under the Federal Meat Inspection Program.”
Ministry statement regarding the pasture requirements:
The cattle that graze on the spray irrigation land are subject to the Federal Meat Inspection Program therefore will not be in violation of the MSR if effluent happens to be sprayed on the cattle. Regardless, the City of Cranbrook has committed to not irrigate in fields when the cattle can be sprayed with the effluent. They are planning to further address this issue within the Operating Plan and also outline the operating cycle of the pivots. For further information on the Federal Meat Inspection Program, please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.
Receiving information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency so far has not been easy. One must ask what the Federal Meat Inspection Program consists of. Locally, the cattle are inspected only for communicable diseases by a local veterinarian.
In 2005 –2006 according to the Food Inspection Agency website for Beef (Table A3-21)
A total of 7697 tests were performed on domestic beef samples.
Of 4185 tests for veterinary drugs, 4144 had no detectable residues (99.02%). There were 41 positive results, 40 of which were identified as violations (99.04% compliance).
Domestic beef was tested for pesticides using the multi-residue method, and was also analyzed for carbamates, chlorinated phenols and synthetic pyrethrins. Out of a total of 707 tests for pesticides, 696 had no detectable residues (98.44%).
Domestic beef was tested for 15 different metals (aluminum, arsenic, boron, cadmium, chromium, copper, iron, mercury, manganese, nickel, lead, selenium, tin, titanium and zinc). A total of 2805 tests for metals were performed. Of these, 704 were for the toxic metals (arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead). There was no detectable mercury in any sample. There were positive results for arsenic (8), cadmium (1) and lead (5). There were no toxic metal violations in domestic beef (100% compliance).
On the surface these results sound pretty good. However the City Farm alone produces approximately 3,500 head of beef cattle in one year. In all of Canada and out of over 3 million head of cattle a total of only 7,697 tests were performed in 2005 – 2006.
One must wonder how beef raised on effluent and forage grown on effluent would stack up in its test results and indeed whether any meat from that kind of environment has indeed been tested.
Citizens for a Livable Cranbrook Society provides grassroots leadership and an inclusive process, with a voice for all community members, to ensure that our community grows and develops in a way that incorporates an environmental ethic, offers a range of housing and transportation choices, encourages a vibrant and cultural life and supports sustainable, meaningful employment and business opportunities.