WARNING! This story contains graphic images showing piled up pig carcasses
The owner of an industrial composting plant in British Columbia has been arrested. Interior condemns misinformation after images of thousands upon thousands of pig carcasses were posted near the Similkameen.
The photos were published in the community press outlet CastanetLast Tuesday’s complaints were also received from the Upper Similkameen Indian Band claiming that the land- and water-related hazards could be caused by the decomposing animals.
Mateo Ocejo runs the Net Zero Waste Eastgate facility, 50 km southwest of Princeton. He says that the animals pose no risk to the environment or humans.
Ocejo admits that the images were disturbing but he says there was no other way. Ocejo said there was no other way to handle the approximately 10,000 pigs, which weighed a total 700 tons. B.C. floods killed many.Fraser Valley last November.
Ocejo, a practicing engineer, claims he was called by the Ministry of Agriculture last week to recycle the massive amount of hog carcasses.
He said, “It was a disaster. They were in standing water on farm, polluting water.”
Ocejo said he was following B.C.’s Organic Matter Recycling Regulationto aid the carcasses in their decomposition.
Ocejo explained that Gore-Texjackets were used to encapsulate and keep the material as close to the environment as possible, without allowing it to come in contact with rain or snow. It also keeps all of your pile’s moisture and bacteria, helping to speed up the materials’ breakdown.
The B.C. The Ministry of Environment described the flooding in the Lower Mainland, Interior and other areas last year as “unprecedented”, in the province’s recent history.
Backlash and threats
Ocejo said he has been dealing avec threats and backlash ever since the images were released last week. He was upset that he wasn’t given an opportunity to explain what had happened.
“Some people have made comments that they believed we killed the porkers,” They wanted to know if they were responsible for this, and how the corpses could get there. [spread]Ocejo stated that there is no cure for the disease, and that there is a lot of misinformation.
Castanet claimed that an Upper Similkameen Indian Band official said biowaste may contaminate groundwater and river water. Ocejo denies this.
The band also sent a Letter of complaintThe Town of Princeton reported to it on Jan. 11. It stated that its staff discovered the massive amount of hog carcasses at Net Zero Waste facility Dec.10 and discovered that leachate was flowing from the facility directly to the Similkameen River’s surroundings.
The letter states that “We are concerned about industrial-scale waste processing, including biosolids, and massive numbers of animal corpsses, is occurring with inadequate oversight and with potentially severe ecological and cultural impacts, such as threats to our ground water and surface waters.”
The Upper Similkameen Indian Band requested that the municipality halt its support for Net Zero Waste until it can prove that it is in compliance with provincial environmental regulations.
CBC has reached out to First Nation multiple times for feedback, but has yet to hear back.
Spencer Coyne, Princeton Mayor says his community has received carcasses of chickens from Fernie and other B.C. areas in the past. Although he is not a member of the Interior community, he acknowledges that residents are always concerned about the potential contamination of their environment by dead animals from other parts.
Coyne said, “I’m very concerned regarding the water system. And that’s what we all have on an ongoing basis whenever any of those things happen.”
CBC was informed by the Ministry of Environment that its staff visited Net Zero Waste on Dec. 21 in order to determine if it was operating in compliance with the Organic Matter Recycling Regulation. Environmental Management Act, and will publish an Inspection Report in due time.
The ministry’s written statement states that “We expect all animals to be treated respectfully as we continue to respond the the impacts of the flooding.”
Doug Davidson is the operations manager for Vancouver company West Coast Reduction. He organized much of post-flood carcass clean up, including 2,000 pig carcasses. There will be an increasing demand for composting facilities to dispose of large quantities of dead animals in the future.
He stated, “This isn’t our first disaster and unfortunately, it won’t be our final.”
He claims that the pig and poultry carcasses can be reduced to soil additives, oils, and proteins. However, carcasses from cattle cannot be recycled and have been sent to landfills.
According to Net Zero Waste, it could take up to a year for all 10,000 pig carcasses to be recycled.