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More sludge across Spotsy?

MORE: Read more Spotsylvania County news

A company is seeking a new permit to spread treated sewage sludge on thousands of acres of farm and timberland in Spotsylvania County.

Synagro Central LLC, based in Champlain in Essex County, wants to apply the sludge—also known as biosolids—on 146 parcels totaling 6,246 acres scattered around Spotsylvania.

Adjoining landowners have received letters from Beth Biller, biosolids specialist with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, advising them of Synagro’s application. A public information meeting is scheduled for Monday night at the Central Rappahannock Regional Library Snow Memorial Branch.

Biller, a biosolids specialist with the DEQ’s Northern Regional Office in Woodbridge, says Synagro is currently applying the material in Spotsylvania under a state Health Department Biosolids Use Regulation permit.

Synagro is applying for a new Virginia Pollution Abatement permit, managed by DEQ, which took over biosolids management several years ago. The agency has been updating its permits and amending them to meet stricter standards that took effect last Sept. 1.

Layne Baroldi, director of regulatory and legislative affairs for Synagro Technologies in California, said Friday that the company’s application actually covers about 7,800 acres in Spotsylvania. About 5,000 acres of that total is new.

Baroldi said in an email that Synagro “was an active supporter of the new [DEQ] regulations and looks forward to continuing the Virginia area’s infrastructure and beneficially recycling nutrients.”

Biosolids are what’s left after the treatment of human wastes. Companies such as Synagro are paid by municipalities to dispose of the material, which is given free to farmers as fertilizer, though some is sold where is high demand, such as in Arizona.

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

It has been used on tens of thousands of acres of farmland in the Fredericksburg area, and has been controversial in some areas, especially when there have been problems with odor and runoff.

Synagro was fined in February 2012 by DEQ for improper storage and handling of treated sewage sludge on farms in Fauquier, Essex and Goochland counties.

Last week, a public meeting was held in Bowling Green on a permit modification, also for Synagro Central LLC. That permit would allow the company to add eight tracts, totaling 3,831 acres, to an existing permit to spread biosolids in Caroline County. Synagro’s current permit allows it to apply the treated sludge to 5,617 acres in Caroline.

Two other companies—Recyc Systems Inc. and Agri-Services Corp.—also have pollution-abatement permits for land application in Spotsylvania.

For more information on Synagro’s Spotsylvania permit application or copies of documents, contact Beth Biller at 703/583-3821, or by email: elizabeth.biller@deq.virginia.gov

More on biosolids: deq.virginia.gov

More on Synagro: synagro.com/

Rusty Dennen: 540/374-5431, rdennen@freelancestar.com 

WHAT ARE BIOSOLIDS?

Biosolids are solid, semisolid or liquid materials removed from municipal sewage and treated to be used as fertilizer.

They are divided into two categories: Class A, in which nearly all disease-causing organisms are eliminated, and Class B, which has less restrictive standards and more stringent permit limitations.

In 2006, the latest figure available, about 263,000 dry tons of biosolids were applied to nearly 56,000 acres in Virginia.

Read more about biosolids online at: water.epa.gov/polwaste/wastewater/treatment/biosolids/genqa.cfm

—Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

 

WANT TO GO?

WHAT: Virginia Department of Environmental Quality holds public meeting to discuss plan by Synagro Central LLC to spread biosolids on more than 6,246 acres over 146 tracts of land in Spotsylvania.

WHEN: 6 p.m. Monday, March 3

WHERE: Central Rappahannock Regional Library Snow Memorial Brach, 8740 Courthouse Road.

DETAILS: DEQ staff will review technical issues, answer questions about biosolids land application, and procedures for public comment on a draft permit. Inclement weather date is Wednesday, March 12.

 

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