RM of Cote holds informational meeting about proposed ILO

An informational meeting was held on April 30 at the Ukrainian Catholic Hall in Kamsack to inform and educate the community about intensive livestock operations (ILOs) and, specifically, about an ILO being proposed for location on SW 14-29-32, W1.

The meeting was sponsored by the RM of Cote, with presentations from four guest speakers about rules regarding ILOs, water analysis, public health and water security.

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Around 60 persons were in attendance.

Rod Gardner was the facilitator at the meeting which was called to order at 7 p.m.

Explaining that the Clarion Hutterite Colony had made an application of proposal of an ILO to be located south of Kamsack, Gardner introduced the presenters of the agencies they represented, and requested that everyone in attendance be respectful to presenters, the developer, the council of the RM and all who had taken the time to attend.

The first presenter was Chris Jungwirth of Yorkton, representing the ministry of agriculture, livestock branch. He informed the attendees that his division was tasked with regulating and carrying out the intensive livestock provisions of the Agricultural Operations Act which has been in effect since 1996, saying the purpose of the Act pertains to surface and groundwater protection.

“The intensive provisions require ILOs to have plans to store and manage waste from their livestock operations,” he said.

He defined an ILO, saying it refers to the confinement of animals where the space per animal unit is less than 4,000 square feet. The Act uses the term “animal unit” to compare livestock of different species. The amount of nitrogen production by one animal unit is approximately the same across species, using one cow which would be the same as 6 feeder pigs as an example.

Not all ILOs require an approved plan, he said. It's specific to ILOs that involve the rearing, confining or feeding of over 300 animal units for more than 10 days out of any 30-day period or over 20 animal units within 305 meters of surface water.

He spoke about manure storage, engineering studies, preliminary review and survey analysis, saying the Clarion colonies’ waste storage and management plans from this spring were approved for 385 units.

Telling the crowd if expansions were to be made they would need to make a new application, he indicated inspections will be conducted periodically and any complaints will be investigated.

The next presenter, David Tratch of WaterMark Consulting, talked about water security, and water analysis.

“For this project we licensed the Clarion Colonies’ water supply with the water Security Agency,” he said. “We worked with Saskatchewan Agriculture, dealing with the mortality management and manure management, and did the investigation for a domestic lagoon as well.

“The site is actually what we consider geologically secure. It's primarily clay deposit across the profile. What little groundwater is there, the groundwater is captured within the fractured clay and would be considered to be a fairly deep groundwater table and very inactive. Most of the water that falls on the land would run off and a little bit infiltrates.

“Mortality disposal would be by burial,” he said.

Tratch indicated there would be no impact to the town water supply.

He said odour would likely not be noticed in town.

Ditching and diverting would control run on and run off water. He indicated there is a contingency on site to minimize infiltration in the event of a mass mortality burial catastrophe.

John Pelikan, health inspector with public health services, Saskatchewan Health Authority, spoke next and indicated his job is to enforce the Public Health Act.

He described his role in this instance would be to manage the Act as it would pertain to food sales. “Whether it's food processing or food sales it is subject to compliance inspections,” he said.

He mentioned a slaughterhouse might be part of the operation and he would do inspections to ensure about relevant regulations and standards.

Aaron Schweitzer of the Water Security Agency was the next presenter.

He indicated his two concerns were the water supply portion and the human drinking water and wastewater portion.

Saying he was comfortable with the water supply piece, he indicated he has messaging from the drinking water/wastewater side.

“The clients in this case, the Clarion Colony have proposed to use a certain amount of water from the Assiniboine aquifer. We have certain standards which we apply in a situation and we determine if there is a sufficient supply for a sustainability perspective and the other thing is we determine whether or not they will impact other users.

“The process has happened and is complete about this instance and the water supply. The Colony has been issued a water license for 84 cubic decameters.

“We have conditions on that license that hold the Colony to adaptive management, so that's monitoring and reporting requirements on an annual basis to determine if there are downward trends over time and impacts on the aquifer.

“Are there impacts to other users? There's also a requirement for mitigations if such an impact occurs,” he said.

“At the end of the day if you are in proximity to such a large operation, make sure you keep an eye on your water levels,” he cautioned. “And make sure they stay within their normal parameters.”

As far as water priority, the question was asked “Who does have priority?” and it was said the water license to the Colony must defer to the Town of Kamsack.

Sherry Guenther, administrator for the RM of Cote, addressed the new zoning amendment in the municipality.

“The Colony applied to the RM for an Intensive Livestock Operation,” she said. “They have also applied for the establishment of a Colony in the RM on the same section as the ILO.”

She indicated that the two applications are separate, and the establishment of the Colony will be addressed with the public at a later date.

Anyone with further questions were encouraged to contact the RM office.

Guenther stated there will be a future public notice regarding the zoning bylaw amendment.

She indicated that the informational meeting was the first step in the ILO establishment process.

Hand outs were available at the meeting regarding the regulation of ILOs in Saskatchewan, the Agricultural Operations Act, the Agricultural Operations Regulations and holding pond site selection and design.

After adjournment of the meeting everyone enjoyed baking supplied by the Clarion colony, and refreshments.