Activist company

Waste recycling company requests deferral of sludge permit – Daily Press

KING WILLIAM — The company behind an application to dump sludge at multiple sites in King William County has asked for a delay in processing its permit as citizens and environmentalists demand a public hearing.

Synagro Central, LLC., seeks to amend an existing permit to allow waste processing on more than 5,400 acres of agricultural and forestry land at 13 sites in the county. The company already has permits to apply sludge to thousands of acres in Virginia, including King William, King and Queen and New Kent counties.

Environmental activist Tyla Matteson led a campaign for a public hearing on the proposal, saying sewage sludge poses a risk to water supplies and human health.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) received more than 80 letters of correspondence related to the sludge dumping proposal by the end of the comment period in April. The ministry has not yet determined whether a hearing will take place.

“The permit applicant, Synagro Central, LLC, has asked DEQ to delay processing the permit (including making a decision on whether to hold a hearing) until after the July 4 holiday,” said said DEQ’s Neil Zahradka earlier this month.

Abioye Fayiga, a permit writer for VPA, previously told Matteson that the department would decide whether to hold a hearing in King William County by the end of May.

She confirmed that the department had received 85 comment letters regarding the application, one of which arrived after the comment period closed.

Matteson said 25 letters should trigger a hearing. However, the state code states that a public hearing must be held when there is “a substantial public interest in the issuance, denial, variation, or revocation of the license in question” as well as “substantial and contested concerning the issuance, refusal, modification or revocation of the permit.

Matteson, who was involved in an ultimately unsuccessful campaign in 2014 to stop the dumping of industrial sludge in King William County, remains concerned about the proposed expansion of sludge dumping into county fields.

“The sludge is given free to farmers to use as fertilizer for their land and crops. What people may not know is that sewage sludge comes from sewage treatment plants and contains a long list of metals and chemicals, which are not healthy for humans” , Matteson said.

She is particularly concerned about chemicals called PFAS, which she says are present in sludge. These are known as “eternal chemicals” and are not broken down in nature. Earlier this year, The Washington Post reported that PFAS levels in some Maine deer were high enough to warrant an official state warning. Residents have been told not to eat venison from deer killed near an area where several farms were fertilized in the 1990s with municipal or industrial sludge.

Chris Hall, a landowner living near one of the application sites, is among those concerned about Synagro’s plans, saying that until the composition of the sludge and how it affects the people and animals can be determined, their use as agricultural fertilizer should be prohibited. .

Ann Brummer Todd, another King William resident living near a sludge dump site, said a “foul” smell of sludge lingered for weeks.

Synagro says on its website that the company is proud of the “significant environmental mission” it provides to communities.

“We work in partnership with stakeholders to clean our water, protect our environment and serve our communities by generating value from what others consider waste. We work to protect the health of our water, our Earth and those who depend on it now and in the future,” the company states.

David Macaulay, [email protected]