Cecil County Council Reviews Sewage Sludge Permitting

As reported in the Cecil Whig, the Cecil County Council decided to request that the Maryland Department of the Environment hold additional public information meetings in regard to sewer sludge application permits, and may consider a new county program to test sludge material.

MDE held one meeting on sludge application permits in Cecil County last month, but the Council is requesting additional meetings to share information on the topic with the public, according to the Whig.  To address concerns regarding the safety of sludge application, Cecil Council President and MACo member Robert Hodge proposed that the county investigate creating its own supplemental sludge testing program, which would give the county better accountability for sludge applicants if the state budget creates instances of infrequent testing, the Whig described. As reported,

The issue of spreading sludge, or biosolids, has sparked strong opposition from Cecil County residents at least twice in the past decade, with many claiming the sludge contains potentially harmful heavy metals and chemicals that can’t be treated to safe levels and therefore shouldn’t get into the food chain or nearby waterways. State officials have authorized the process, however, as long as the company applying it abides by state regulations regarding buffers and other restrictions, such as time frames. Four applications remain in MDE’s possession for approval to spread sewage sludge into the soil as a way to fertilize crops of corn, grass hay, soybeans, barley, corn silage and wheat. . .

The council agreed to request the Cecil County Health Department compose a proposal for a testing program, which would be run by department sanitarians, for its review at a later meeting.

For more information, see the full story in the Cecil Whig.

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