The issue of biosolids will be front and centre on Monday, Jan. 26 in Merritt.

The Nicola Watershed Community Round Table Society will host a public meeting on the issue set to take place between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. at the Civic Centre because of concerns regarding the use of this waste product in the Nicola Valley as fertilizer.

Biosolids are essentially the end product left over after sewage is treated at a water treatment facility, and the intention to spread this product on land along Woodward Road by the company BioCentral — the sister company to

Agassiz-based construction company Timbro Contracting — has generated vehement concern and opposition in recent weeks.

Residents of the Sunshine Valley Estates housing development in Lower Nicola worry application of biosolids on this property could contaminate their drinking water, as the Woodward Road property is said to sit atop an aquifer these residents derive water from.

There are also two creeks that run through the property.

Members of that community are also part of the “Friends of the Nicola Valley” group on Facebook, which consists of concerned residents who oppose the use of biosolids. Georgia Clement will speak at the meeting on behalf of the group.

Other speakers who will present include Dr. Joan Harkness from Urban Systems, an environmental and engineering consulting firm; Regina Sadilkova, director of development services for the Thompson-Nicola Regional District; a

Ministry of Environment representative; Interior Health Authority health protection team leader Mike Adams; and John Paul, who is a consultant for BioCentral.

Each speaker will present on a different aspect of the issue, beginning with Harkness’ overview of biosolids. Sadilkova will discuss current zoning regulations and the process to change zoning. Adams will talk about the role the

Interior Health Authority plays in managing biosolids and the Drinking Water Protection Act, while Paul will provide details of local projects involving biosolids.

The Ministry of Environment representative is expected to speak on the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation and the regulation requirements for land application and composting sites.

Nicola Watershed Community Round Table director Jill Sanford said the group conducts these public meetings to deal with local issues.

“What we’re trying to do is to get as many experts together [as possible] to give their aspects of the issue,” Sanford said.

She said the meeting will also have a facilitator.

Each presentation will include a question and answer period.

The Interior Health Authority and Ministry of Environment have both said they requested additional information from BioCentral in regards to the application of biosolids on the Woodward Road.

Under the Organic Materials Recycling Regulation, the Ministry of Environment and IHA are the two regulatory bodies that need to be notified of the intent to spread biosolids on a piece of land.