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Campbell County Seeks DEQ Review of Toxic Sludge Permit Application

  • Campbell seeks DEQ review of biosolids permit application
    By Sarah Watson
    Lynchburg News Advance, March 4, 2010
    Straight to the Source

The discovery of "numerous" discrepancies in a draft biosolids permit has prompted Campbell County to ask the Department of Environmental Quality to reject the application from further consideration until a thorough review is done by the agency and the company seeking permission.

"Since portions of the application include information and signatures from persons other than the current landowners of record, we believe the legitimacy of the entire application is in question," Campbell County Administrator David Laurrell said in a Feb. 25 letter to DEQ.

Of the 35 tracts in the draft permit, the names of landowners on 12 tracts do not match up with current county records, county environmental manager Brian Stokes said. A resident complaint about the ownership of one property prompted Stokes to do a comprehensive review of the entire application, where he cross-referenced the names of legal landowners, field maps and landowner agreement forms provided by Nutri-Blend Inc., the company requesting the permit.

"We want to make sure that if and when DEQ issues the permit to spread biosolids, that the only properties that are receiving biosolids are properties we have written consent from," Stokes said.

"We were under the assumption that DEQ was doing the fact-checking and came to find out they weren't doing the fact-checking."

Neil Zahradka, who heads DEQ's biosolids program, said the agency generally accepts what information it is given by the biosolids companies requesting permits.

"We're not going to assume that the permit applicant is giving us false information," he said. "There are certain pieces of actions that we take when we're reviewing a permit application, but, no, we're not going to independently verify every piece of information that's in the permit application because it's ultimately the responsibility of the permit applicant."

Laurrell said Thursday that frustrations are running deep regarding Nutri-Blend's permit in the county because nearly identical discrepancies were found in a permit modification the company filed for in 2006, when the state health department managed oversight.


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