There are ongoing concerns that the spreading of manure has negatively impacted the Hullcar aquifer in Spallumcheen.

There are ongoing concerns that the spreading of manure has negatively impacted the Hullcar aquifer in Spallumcheen.

Hullcar debate unfolds at council

Spallumcheen council wants the ministry to provide results of the high nitrate sources

A Hullcar farmer has voiced his concerns regarding a pollution abatement order he received from the Ministry of Environment.

Ted Curtis was given a pollution abatement order with little warning, and no information on how to comply, he said during a Spallumcheen council meeting Monday night.

The abatement order came after inspections saying that, according to the ministry, operations  are contributing to high levels of nitrate in the Steele Springs Water District.

“We’ve done water tests on all sides of our farm,” he said.

The Ministry of Environment issued pollution abatement orders to several operators in Spallumcheen’s Hullcar Valley.

“It’s completely demoralizing family farms. We have never had an issue with pollution at our farm,” said Curtis.

“We don’t know what to do, or how to handle it.”

Coun. Todd York regarded the incident as ludicrous.

“You are interpreting this right on the money.”

According to a ministry report, “Inspection records, once completed, will be provided for to the agricultural operators for comment.”

Son Kevin Curtis said they had little warning of the order.

“To get an abatement order, they first have to talk to you and say ‘this is going on, can we fix this?’ They never once said ‘can we work together?’” he said.

Coun. Christine Fraser agreed with Curtis.

“With pollution abatement orders, until they have the technical information, they shouldn’t have put out the abatement orders.”

Why involve so many farms without knowing exactly what’s going on?”

Save Hullcar Aquifer Team (SHAT) member Al Price believes the abatement orders are a ruse.

“They’re not based on any evidence whatsoever.”

Residents of the Hullcar Valley have alleged a large dairy farm is responsible for the high nitrate levels.

“They’re trying to convince people that there are multiple sources,” said Price of the ministry.

Spallumcheen council passed a resolution Monday to ask the ministry for clarification and to provide results of the high nitrate sources prior to a Hullcar Valley area based management Plan process being initiated.

The ministry could not be reached for comment by deadline.

 

Vernon Morning Star