03/11/2015 08:12 EDT | Updated 05/11/2015 05:59 EDT

Nicola Valley residents protest biosolids being dumped

Trucks carrying biosolids 10 kilometres west of Merritt were forced to turn back this week by protesters who want to put an end to the Nicola Valley's growing compost industry.

The group Friends of the Nicola Valley says biosolids are currently being dumped at a composting facility in the Sunshine Valley. The dump site is close to the Nooaitch Band's reserve and borders the Nicola River, says the group's organizer Georgia Clement.

"The Nooaitch and a number of First Nations communities draw water from the Nicola River," Clement told Radio West on Tuesday. "So there's a serious concern from their point of view with regard to contamination to their water."

Clement says she and a group of locals were out on Highway 8 on Tuesday, and they managed to block one truck carrying biowaste from getting through. The same thing happened on Wednesday.

Biosolids are the end product that is recovered during the wastewater treatment process. They can be used as a soil fertilizer. 

Clement says there are plans for another dumping site in an area known as Dry Lake, a 320-acre parcel of land that is near a 44-lot rural subdivision and a community well.  

Bruce Smith, a spokesman with the Regional District of Central Okanagan, told Radio West that he is aware of the highway blockade and hopes that it will be temporary.

A representative from the Ministry of Environment was not immediately available for comment.

To hear the full interview with Georgia Clement, click on the audio labelled: B.C. residents block trucks carrying biosolids.