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Lansford votes to ban dumping of biosolids

Published November 11. 2010 05:00PM

Biosolids, commonly known as sludge, have no place in Lansford, council ruled.

The board voted to bar use of the material, the byproduct of domestic and commercial sewage and wastewater treatment, from the borough. Councilman Tommy Vadyak, who broached the matter at an Oct. 25 Public Safety Committee meeting, brought his recommendation before council at a public meeting Wednesday.

All but one of the council members who attended the meeting favored the ban. Councilwoman Mary Kruczek did not vote, saying she had not read the full ordinance. Council President Robert Gaughan had resigned his post as of 6:30 p.m. Monday.

Vadyak has said he hopes that Lansford's action will spur surrounding communities to adopt the ordinance, modeled after one adopted in East Brunswick Township. That ordinance, Vadyak has said, has passed legal muster.

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

While Lansford lacks farmland, the Panther Valley does have mine pits where the material could be used for reclamation.

Vadyak has said that the biosolids matter surfaced in 1999-2000, when Lehigh Coal & Navigation of Pottsville proposed using the material to reclaim mine lands behind the Panther Valley High School in Summit Hill along Route 209 between Lansford and Nesquehoning. That plan was later dropped.

Lansford In June 2004 expected to adopt an ordinance governing biosolids, after neighboring Summit Hill adopted such an ordinance. That borough's action was prompted by LC&N's proposal to use biosolids, along with fly ash and kiln dust, for mine reclamation. The ordinance required that biosolids be tested for germs, chemicals, metals, radioactivity and material that would attract rodents.

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