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More sewage sludge in Caroline?

A division of Synagro is seeking state permission to amend a permit allowing it to spread more treated sewage sludge on land in Caroline County.

Synagro Central LLC wants to add eight tracts, totaling 3,831 acres, to an existing permit to spread the fertilizer—derived from human waste—on farm fields.

Also, changes to the state’s biosolids regulations that became effective last Sept. 1 will be incorporated into Synagro’s amended permit.

Those items will be the subject of a public meeting in Caroline on Tuesday. The session was rescheduled from last week because of the snowstorm.

Synagro’s current permit allows it to apply biosolids to 5,617 acres in Caroline, said Beth Biller,cq with the Department of Environmental Quality’s Northern Regional Office in Woodbridge.

The eight additional parcels, she said, are scattered around the county, and range in size from about 80 acres to around 600.

Biller said Tuesday that DEQ staff will attend Tuesday’s meeting to discuss technical details and answer questions related to the permit. A Health Department representative will also be on hand to address any health concerns.

“It’s a chance for people to learn about the [biosolids] program and ask any questions they may have,” she said.

DEQ initiated companies’ permit modifications to incorporate last year’s changes to the state’s biosolids regulations.

Those involve provisions for biosolids staging prior to use, sign posting and notifications, landowner consent, setbacks and field operations.

“It’s fair to say the public would perceive the regulations now as being more restrictive, and the process more transparent,” said Ed Stuart, regional water compliance manager for DEQ in Woodbridge.

Treated sewage sludge is what’s left after the treatment of human wastes.

Opponents say the material is harmful to the environment and human health. Supporters contend it’s a safe method of disposal that is cheap and provides farmers with a beneficial fertilizer.

Farmers typically get biosolids free from contractors, who are paid by localities to dispose of the material generated in sewage treatment plants.

Synagro is one of three companies with active permits to spread biosolids in Caroline. The others are Recyc Systems, based in Remington in Fauquier County, and Agri–Services Corp., headquartered in King George County.

Synagro, headquartered in Baltimore, employs more than 800 people in 34 states, and serves more than 600 municipal and industrial water and wastewater facilities.

For more information on the permit or copies of documents, contact Beth Biller at 703/583-3821, or by email:

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431