In a proactive approach to ensure their drinking water isn’t contaminated from biosolids located at the nearby BioCentral composting site, the Nooaitch band plans to conduct groundwater testing.

Band manager Larry Jordan said the initiative to test the band’s groundwater started about four months ago.

“We’re close to the site on Sunshine Valley Road, so we had concern that our aquifers might, at some point, get contaminated,” Jordan said. “We wanted to start a study that would document where we are today and then continue to monitor ground penetration of contaminants.”

The aquifer the band draws its community water supply from is deep within the ground, and any contaminant would take years to penetrate to that level, he said.

“But it’s important that we start monitoring because if we lose our aquifer, if it becomes contaminated, that’s obviously not good,” Jordan said.

The band hopes that an initial report will be complete by the middle of July, Jordan said.

“It’s obvious that well water is the primary drinking source for any community in this valley, so that becomes your first question — is the aquifer OK at this point and will it become contaminated sometime in the future,” Jordan said. “We obviously don’t know that answer, so we wanted to start monitoring.

The band decided to do this because the composting site of concern is a relatively new operation in the area told the Herald.

“If you have concerns you need to establish a plan and then you have to have a reference point, a baseline, and that’s what we wanted to get initially and that’s what we are in the process of achieving,” Jordan said.

He said the band recruited the company Golder Associates to lead the project.