Cecil County Council Requests Additional MDE Meetings Over Sewage Sludge Application Permits

A recent Cecil Daily article reports that the Cecil County Council has requested that the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) hold additional public meetings over several sewage sludge application permits that have generated public concern.

Council President Robert Hodge said that though MDE held one meeting at Elkton High School last month for the six applications on file at the time to spread treated sewer waste on farm fields as a cheap fertilizer, state regulations allow the council to request additional meetings.  …

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.

“It has been questioned whether the one meeting was sufficient to get the notice out to allow enough citizens to ask questions or participate in the public information meeting,” Hodge said at the council’s Tuesday morning work session. “MDE has indicated it would be receptive to holding additional meetings if the council wished.”

The article also notes that Council Member Hodge has proposed that Cecil County consider creating its own sewage sludge testing program.