Do you ever think about what happens to your poo after it is flushed down the toilet? Where should it go and how well is it treated? These are the questions the municipalities and scientists across the country are asking themselves every day. Canadians produce almost 6 billion kilograms of excrement a year and increasing populations means that there is a rapidly growing amount of human waste that municipalities have to manage.
Biosolids are treated, nutrient-rich, organic residual arising from municipal wastewater treatment and in many provinces across Canada, including Ontario, there are several ways in which municipalities are disposing of biosolids. One management practice, used by more than 80 per cent of Canadian municipalities, is the application of biosolids on agricultural lands as an organic fertilizer, a legal and heavily regulated process by the Ontario Ministry of Environment and Climate Change and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. This particular application has raised concerns among some scientists.