Organic Consumers Association

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Levy Court to Talk Biosolids at Meeting

DOVER — Levy Court plans to discuss Kent County’s purchase of a Frederica-area field to use for spreading waste during tonight’s meeting.

The county purchased the old Vineyard Farm off Carpenters Bridge Road in 2013, paying $1.3 million from its Sewer Fund for the 148-acre property.

The county and state officials said the property will be used infrequently to spread biosolids, which are nutrient-rich organic materials that result from the treatment of domestic sewage.

The field, located near two tributaries to the Murderkill River, sits across the street from a 55-plus community and adjacent to other farms. Browns Branch and Ash Gut run past Frederica and terminate a few miles south of the town.

Although the county has said the field rarely would be used for biosolids disposal, some nearby residents have reservations.

William Moffett, whose land is next to the field is concerned property values, will decline if Kent County spreads biosolids on the field next to his property.

“I just don’t understand how they think this is a good idea,” Mr. Moffett said Monday. “Why would you make that a sludge farm?

“There are a lot of other properties that they’ve could have done this. It’s going to cause many problems in the future.”

There are two types of biosolids, Class A and Class B. Both have been treated, but those in the Class B category contain “detectible” levels of pathogens, while Class A do not, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Class B biosolids have limits on use, such as buffer zones and crop restrictions, and anyone spreading them in Delaware must have a permit from the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control.

A public hearing with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control’s Surface Water Discharges Section is scheduled for March 10 at the Lake Forest East Elementary School in Frederica. It starts at 6:30 p.m.

The application proposes permitting additional land for the agricultural utilization of biosolids to the list of farms that the County currently has permitted for this use.

Currently the county has an agricultural utilization permit for agricultural utilization of biosolids onto lands known as the West Farm, Kent County Sludge Farm, Nyle Calloway Farm, Blessing Farm and the Goldinger Farm.

Before putting down biosolids under an agricultural utilization permit, they are required to undergo a process to reduce pathogens and must be analyzed for a list of specific parameters including nutrient content and metals, to ensure the biosolids meet state and federal regulatory requirements.

“I just don’t think it’s safe,” Mr. Moffett said. “Every time I think about I just don’t believe that they’re allowed to do this.”

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