23 Mart 2017 Perşembe Breaking News             Latest US News            New York

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A Pennsylvania legislative committee will take a new look at the use and permitting of biosolids on farms, in response to a resolution authored by state Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton, and passed by the House last week. The Legislative Budget and Finance...

Poll: Should biosolids be used as fertilizer on farms?

A Pennsylvania legislative committee will take a new look at the use and permitting of biosolids on farms, in response to a resolution authored by state Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton, and passed by the House last week. The Legislative Budget and Finance...

Poll: Should biosolids be used as fertilizer on farms?

A Pennsylvania legislative committee will take a new look at the use and permitting of biosolids on farms, in response to a resolution authored by state Rep. Joe Emrick, R-Northampton, and passed by the House last week.

The Legislative Budget and Finance Committee will look at the methods used to spread biosolids — a product of human sewage sludge that may contain pathogens — on Pennsylvania fields, along with the costs of the practice, the Department of Environmental Protection's oversight of permitting, and other potential beneficial uses for biosolids, Emrick said.

The issue has been contested in Emrick's district, where biosolids are in use on several farms. A settlement was reached earlier this year between the Delaware Riverkeeper Network and the DEP over they type of biolsolids allowed on three farms in Upper Mount Bethel Township. The network claims DEP's permitting process for Type B biosolids — which are not treated in the way Type A biosolids are to reduce harmful materials — is flawed. The DEP says simply clarified its procedures under a contract with the Delaware River Basin Commission to protect water quality in sensitive areas of the Delaware River.

The issue is far from resolved. Proponents say biosolids are a safe, cheap form of fertilizer. A representative of Synagro, a firm that supplies biosolids to Northampton County farms, said the review is likely to be redundant and a waste of money, but the company will cooperate with the state.

John Gorman, president of Sludge-Free Upper Mount Bethel Township, which maintains the use of sludge on farms is not safe, said a review is welcome as long as it's performed by an independent group and not the DEP.

What do you think? Is the use of processed human sewage sludge a safe practice, or a threat to health? Have a say in our informal poll, and feel free to join the conversation in the comments section.

Our editors found this article on this site using Google and regenerated it for our readers.

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