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Lansford adopts ordinance regulating use of sewage sludge

Published December 09. 2010 05:00PM

Lansford Council on Wednesday adopted an ordinance regulating the use of sewage sludge in the borough.

The ordinance, modeled after one in place in East Brunswick Township, Schuylkill County, adopted on a 6-1 vote, with councilwoman Mary Kruczek opposed.

It's not that she's against regulating the material, Kruczek said after the public meeting. It's that she has concerns about the efficacy of the ordinance.

Kruczek explained that the ordinance simply requires those wishing to use the material, often called biosolids, to abide by state rules and to notify the borough in advance; to provide copies of all documents submitted to the state Department of Environmental Protection; not apply the material on Christmas, New Year's, Easter, July 4th, Labor Day or Thanksgiving; post warning signs along lands where sludge is to be applied that abut public roads; allow the borough to inspect the land where the material is to be applied and to take soil samples.

Sludge, or biosolids, are the byproducts of domestic and commercial sewage and wastewater treatment

Councilman Tommy Vadyak first proposed the ordinance at an Oct. 25 Public Safety Committee meeting.

At that meeting, Vadyak cited the 1995 death of a 17-year-old Berks County boy, Daniel Pennock of Mohrsville, who died days after coming in contact with biosolids that had been used as fertilizer in a farmer's field. About six months earlier, an 11-year-old Clearfield County boy, Tony Behun, died after riding his dirt bike across a strip mine where the material had been applied.

Council on Nov. 11 voted to bar use of the material in the borough, based on a Packer Township ordinance. However, solicitor Robert T. Yurchak, before the ordinance went into effect, recommended that council use a different model, based on the East Brunswick township ordinance, because of Constitutionality issues.

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