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Franklin Twp. couple complains about biosolids

Published July 24. 2018 12:09PM

A Franklin Township couple complained to the township last week about biosolids being applied on a farm near them in Franklin Township.

The couple who lives along Fairyland Road said they received a letter from Synagro.

According to the letter the couple received, the company will be providing biosolids land application services to the Johnson Farm, owned and operated by Troy Johnson.

The activity is regulated by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and requires notification of all landowners adjacent to farms recycling biosolids.

The couple who declined to give their name at the meeting said the biosolids will be located on a field next to their house.

According to DEP, the property is located near Grange Road, Pohopoco Drive and Fairyland Road.

Supervisor Barbara Beltz told the couple that supervisors were recently made aware of the situation.

“We’re looking into this,” Beltz said.

Supervisor Robin Cressley said the situation isn’t new.

“This has been around for years,” Cressley said.

Beltz told the couple it should bring the matter to the attention of state Rep. Doyle Heffley’s office.

“We’re looking into what we can do, but our hands are tied,” she said.

Contention

Biosolids has been a hot point of contention in East Penn Township after a farm has been proposed as a site to use biosolids.

Dennis Cunfer’s family farm has been approved by DEP. Protection for the use of treated sewage sludge, aka biosolids, as fertilizer.

Synagro Inc. has proposed using biosolids on the farm owned by Dennis Cunfer and family.

The Attorney General’s office earlier this month weighed in on an East Penn Township ordinance that is key to a dispute over the use of treated sewage sludge on the Cunfer family farm.

The agency has urged the township to change its ordinance to comply with state law, or possibly face a lawsuit.

Senior Deputy Attorney General Robert A. Willig issued a letter late last month regarding his ongoing review of township ordinance 77, which regulates the use and transport of waste, including sewage sludge.

In his letter, Willig said that state courts have determined that biosolids are a “normal agricultural operation” and a state law known as the Agricultural, Communities and Rural Environment Act prohibits townships from making or enforcing ordinances that are more stringent than the state’s own regulations.

Cunfer’s daughter-in-law, Katherine Hetherington-Cunfer, asked the Attorney General’s office to review ordinance 77 while DEP was reviewing Synagro’s application.

The township is currently suing the Cunfers and Synagro for failing to comply with ordinance 77.

The Cunfers and Synagro both filed requests for judgment against the township late last month, arguing among other points that the ordinance is not valid because of the Agriculture, Communities and Rural Environment Act.

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