Slipping back: background facts

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Kate Aley

Welcome back. While I wait for my file on the accident (December 4) to be retrieved by the MRC des Collines police, I placed calls to two local people, experts on the trucking of manure. For those who are coming in late to this, see my previous "slippery" stories archived here.

First I called a man who owns a business that provides septic tank services among other things. He was particularly helpful and patient, I must say.

He told me that the appearance of septic waste totally depends on how many people use the tank and how often it is emptied: a heavily used tank could contain heavy black solids, a less-used tank would have a lot more watery material. Companies west of Gatineau generally truck the waste to UTEau at the Pontiac Industrial Park situated in the Municipality of Litchfield (often mistakenly identified as being in Portage-du-Fort). Septic waste trucking services based on the other side of Gatineau are more likely to use more locally-based waste treatment sites, except for one in particular that actually owns the UTEau site and so transports waste from the Montebello area across the city to the Pontiac.

When asked about the possibility of a leak, his response was, at first, adamant: it is not possible. The tank must be able to maintain an unbroken vacuum in order for the pump to operate, both to suck up the load and afterwards to discharge it. Later, another thought occurred: if the truck has a release control in the cab, an accidental spill could occur.

Emptying a household septic tank in cold weather is not generally recommended, he said. The bacteria that help consume waste in a septic tank slow down in cold weather. Therefore, if it is emptied in sub-zero temperatures, they could become too cold to be effective. 

Human septic waste is kind of revolting but not actually dangerous, no more dangerous to your health than if you touched your own waste and did not wash your hands. Far more risky is the possibility of a gas build-up in the tank used to transport septic waste:this is a danger only for the operator, of course. Septic waste is treated by raising temperatures to a level that kills pathogens, as with compost. The resulting material can used as a fertilizer for fields, the safety of which is another whole argument.

So, in short, while unlikely that septic sludge was being trucked at this this time of the year and very unlikely that a truck would leak or spill that waste, it is possible.

After this I called another very kind and patient man who was once a pig farmer in this district. I was sure that pig manure was the only kind of animal manure that is stored and transported in a liquid state, but he corrected me.

Dairy cattle manure can be stored in a pit, tank or lagoon and this is transported to fertilize fields in large tanker trailers. However, this is generally done in the spring or early fall: to spread manure on fields after October 1st requires a special permit from the Ministry of the Environment. This is not hard to get, but it's something to avoid having to get, he said.

There are some dairy farms in Luskville; there are no more pig farms here.

Again, in summary, it is unlikely but possible the spill was animal manure.

The culprit was not discovered and is not currently sought by the MTQ.

It remains to be discovered if that person is being sought by the police and, if found, if he or she will be charged. You'll know when I find out.

Drive safely, everyone.

Nos autres nouvelles / Our other News

Les citoyens du secteur d'Aylmer débattent

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«Il faut intégrer tous les modes de transport dans le secteur d'Aylmer. On a besoin dun plan de déplacement et aussi créer un comité permanent sur le transport à la Ville. Avec ça, on pourra mieux préparer et structurer les idées pour les mettre en oeuvre», a indiqué M. Powles.

Pour ce qui touche au développement résidentiel, les participants étaient nombreux à faire mention de l'aspect patrimonial. Le secteur d'Aylmer est le seul à avoir conservé un «bon état de son passé».

AVIS PUBLIC — Municipalité de Pontiac

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EST PAR LES PRÉSENTES DONNÉ par le soussigné directeur général de la susdite municipalité

Qu’une assemblée publique de consultation aura lieu le samedi, 14 septembre 2013 entre 13h00 et 17h00 au Centre communautaire de Luskville, situé au 2024 Route 148, Pontiac, Québec, pour présenter les projets de règlement de remplacement suivants :

Plan d’urbanisme 09-13, règlement de Zonage 10-13, règlement de Lotissement 11-13,  règlement de Construction 12-13, règlement de CCU 15-13, règlement de dérogation mineur 16-13, règlement de PIIA 14-13, règlement de Permis et Certificats 13-13.

PUBLIC NOTICE — Municipality of Pontiac

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IS HEREBY GIVEN by the undersigned Director General of the Municipality of Pontiac

That a public consultation meeting will be held on Saturday, September 14th, 2013 between 1:00 and 5:00 p.m. at the Luskville Community center, located at 2024 Route 148, Pontiac, Quebec, to present the following draft replacement by-laws:

Urban planning 09-13, Zoning by-law 10-13, Subdivision by-law 11-13, Building by-law 12-13, by-law 13-13 Respecting Permits and Certificates, by-law 14-13 on Site Planning and Architectural Integration,  by-law 15-13 establishing the Advisory Planning Committee, by-law 16-13 concerning Minor Exemptions to Urban Planning by-laws.

Aylmer Sector: Gatineau cops hunt for three men after home invasion

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Police are hunting for three masked men after a home invasion in Aylmer on Wednesday.

Shortly before 1 p.m., three black men, who wore bandanas and spoke English, burst into an apartment at 72 Brook St. and tied up and threatened the 27-year-old man inside.

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