Streamline - Spring 2015 - (Page 17)

State Water Control Board Approves Controversial Permit BY SCOTT MCNALLY, SOURCE WATER PROTECTION SPECIALIST Synagro Technologies received the green light to apply one of their products, a fertilizer sourced from recycled industrial waste, on 16,042 acres of Virginia farmland. This area is dispersed throughout six counties including: King and Queen, King William, New Kent, Goochland, Surry and Prince George. The permit was signed by the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) after a vote of 5-2 secured its approval. ON DEC. 11, 2014, The SWCB is one of three citizen boards in Virginia along with the Air Pollution Control Board and Waste Management Board. These boards are made up of Virginia citizens that are individually chosen by the Governor. They have legal authority to enact and enforce many environmental regulations and permits throughout the state. During the public hearing on Dec. 11, the SWCB heard the testimony of 11 citizens, the majority of which were opposed to the permits approval. Synagro is a Baltimore based company that specializes in waste solutions, often recycling certain wastes into useable products such as the aforementioned fertilizer. The waste for this particular project would be sourced from the Tyson Foods plant in Glen Allen, Smithfield Packing and the Rock Tenn Paper Mill in West Point. Many of the opponents who spoke out against the permit cited a fairly long list of contaminants that can be present in the product. These include radioactive agents like Radium, endocrine disrupters and numerous heavy metals such as mercury, copper and arsenic. Representatives from Virginia Department of Environmental Quality contend that the concentration of these contaminants are low enough to make the product safe to use. The opposition of some individuals stems from their own personal experience with biosolids applied to portions of King William County. There were a number of people claiming the smell is unbearable and will linger days after its application. Other people were reporting more severe effects, such as nosebleeds, headaches and dizziness and nausea. Another citizen stated that after the application, the water in a local stream was "running brown and smelly". This could have huge consequences for any municipality that uses a surface water supply downstream of the application sites. If the smell sticks around for too long then this is a likely sign that they applied too much, something that can be fixed by a proper nutrient management plan. During the hearing, however, there were some people who spoke out in support of the permit. Two farmers, one from Louisa County and another from King William explained how they have previously used "biosolids" on their land. Both farmers claimed they never experienced adverse health effects and they wouldn't use anything on their land they thought was unsafe. Biosolids are widely known to be an effective and safe fertilizer when applied correctly. It is important to note in the above paragraph, the farmers were referring to biosolids. Although similar in some ways, biosolids and recycled industrial wastes are two different products that are often confused for the same thing. Biosolids typically refer to a useable product created by treating and processing sewage. Recycled industrial wastes, also useable products can be made up from a wider range of processed wastes. The term "recycled industrial wastes" obviously sounds less pleasant than "biosolids" which is why many people tend to use "biosolids" as a blanket term for usable, processed waste products. It should also be noted that neither of these products are necessarily better than the other. There are certain instances where one may be more effective and safe and this is why properly 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Streamline - Spring 2015

From the President: Power Failure
From the Executive Director: Highlights from 2014
The Sustainability Managed Utility
Communication… Say What?
Flushing Away the Ebola Threat
Hazard Communication Standards – Guidelines for OSHA Compliance
State Water Control Board Approves Controversial Permit
VRWA Said Goodbye to Past Executive Director
USDA Rural Development
The RATES Program
Adequate Rates versus Affordability
NRWA Recap
Debt Refinancing: An Alternate Source of Capital
How the Cloud is Revolutionizing the Future of Water Utility Management
Southern Corrosion Supports Victory Junction
Throwing My Loop: Call Me Anytime
Wastewater Math
Booster Club
eLearning Benefits
Membership Application
Do You Know What Your VRWA Benefits Are?
VRWA Mailbag
New Members
Board of Directors
VRWA Committees
Index to Advertisers/

Streamline - Spring 2015