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Eldred supervisors field sludge concerns

Published September 06. 2018 12:23PM

Eldred supervisors on Wednesday heard concerns about the use of biosolids as fertilizer in the township.

The township supervisors invited zoning and building codes enforcement officer Shawn McGlynn to address the residents who have recently raised concerns with a local farmer who has been granted a permit by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection to apply fertilizer consisting of biosolids, commonly referred to as sludge.

Biosolids are municipal treatment plant solids that are treated and are then deemed to be safe for land application.

“These biosolids are made from human, industrial and medical waste, and industry is trying to turn it into a revenue stream,” said Reiner Jaeckle. “This debris cannot be heat treated and eliminated. This is an absurd lie.”

The farm in question is located behind property belonging to Shirley Krum.

“I couldn’t stand the smell. It was awful,” said Krum. “It gagged me and burned my eyes and throat.”

There were a number of residents who addressed questions to McGlynn and many who had done their own research into not only the product, but also its long-term effects.

McGlynn cautioned the board that these are existing land uses and are protected under the Freedom to Farm Act.

“The township regulates land use and it allows farming just about everywhere in Eldred,” McGlynn said. “But the township cannot micromanage how these activities are done.”

McGlynn suggested that the township might look at its wellhead protection ordinance.

“We are very aware of your concerns and we appreciate your concerns,” said Chairwomen Mary Anne Clausen. “But what we have not been able to get a handle on is what we can do about it.”

At the conclusion of the discussion, Clausen suggested to the board that the township reach out to the law firm of Curtin and Heefner’s environmental law division and engage them to write a letter to the township outlining what options it might have regarding the use of biosolids in Eldred.

The board approved Clausen’s request.

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