Something is very wrong in the Land of Cotton



Dr. Robert Bullard
Environmental Justice Movement Founder

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Don't Poop On My Tomatoes and Tell Me It's "Fertilizer" Mr. Bradley

Stephen Bradley at it again....

Commission Endorses Biosolids Fertilizer Bills
TimesDaily Florence
By Russ Corey
Staff Writer
Published: Monday, March 30, 2009 at 3:30 a.m.
COLBERT COUNTY - Colbert County commissioners approve of two Senate bills proposed by a Franklin County legislator that would allow Colbert and Franklin residents to vote on whether or not they want treated human waste applied to farm fields as a substitute fertilizer.

The bills were introduced by Sen. Roger Bedford, D-Russellville, who represents portions of Franklin and Colbert counties.

Senate Bills 462 and 463 would amend the Alabama Constitution to severely regulate or prohibit the application of treated human waste or biosolids on farm fields as fertilizer or soil supplement if the public votes against its use.

"What we're trying to do is get rid of the New York waste that's being spread on the cropland of Alabama,"
Bedford said.

While they had been used in small quantities in north Alabama for years, biosolids became a major issue in 2007 when Texas-based Synagro constructed a biosolid production facility on Crockett Lane near Leighton in rural Colbert County.

County commissioners passed a resolution endorsing the bill.

The facility treats sewage sludge, including human waste, that is brought into Colbert County by rail car through the Port of Florence.

The plant is in Commissioner Roger Creekmore's district. He said he gets calls from residents concerned about the smell and possible health and environmental concerns.

"I'm getting phone calls, and I'm getting them weekly," Creekmore said. "It's not so much the plant itself, it's the biosolid fertilizer that is being dispersed on fields throughout my district, and the adjoining landowners are calling to complain."

Franklin County Commissioner Stratt Byers represents the east end of Franklin County and gets his share of calls as well.

"I've had lots of calls about it,"
Byers said. "In the east end of the county, it's been spread pretty heavy."

While farmers in both counties have used the biosolid material as a fertilizer substitute, Byers said the majority of the people who call him would prefer that it not be used.

Like Creekmore, Byers said the biggest concern in Franklin County is the possible health and environmental impact the use of biosolids could have in the future.

"We're trying to do what we can to protect our residents from any future environmental issues or health issues that might arise," Byers said. "This is one way of doing it."

He said the Franklin County Commission has not taken any action as far as endorsing Bedford's bill.

The bill simply states that it proposes a constitutional amendment that would allow residents of Colbert and Franklin counties to decide by a yes or no vote if they want biosolids used as a fertilizer substitute.

Bedford said if the bills could not outright ban the use of biosolids as a substitute fertilizer, he hopes they could regulate it to the point it would no longer be profitable for the company to do business in Alabama.

Bedford said he would be surprised if the residents of Colbert and Franklin counties did not vote to stop the use of biosolids in their counties.

"What I like about it is the people of Colbert County will have an opportunity to vote," Creekmore said.

Bedford said the Franklin County bill has yet to be signed out of the local legislative committee. Once it is, it must also be voted on by the Senate and House.

Since they are seeking a constitutional amendment, neither bill will require the governor's signature, Bedford said.

Steve Bradley, a spokesman for Synagro in Alabama, did not address the legislation specifically, but said the company is strictly regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency and also falls under the oversight of the Alabama Department of Environmental Management. Synagro also has developed management guidelines for its product with assistance from the Alabama Department of Agriculture and Industries.

"We recognize that this issue has drawn a lot of attention,"
Bradley said. "We know it's an emotional issue; we understand that."

He said the company has a history of cooperating with any organization scrutinizing its practices and has been responsive to community concerns.

"It's a fact of life that this material is produced," he said. "You can either incinerate it, landfill it or you can make productive use out of it through the production of biosolids."
#            #             #

This time the environmental vampire was repelled.Synagro closed this business down in 2009 after numerous complaints.

Synagro Leaves Area
Published: Sunday, July 12, 2009

Synagro's Leighton facility has stopped processing sewage sludge, including human waste shipped to the Shoals from New York City.

Many Tennessee Valley residents probably considered it insulting to take human waste from New York City and spread it across the beautiful Tennessee Valley where we live, work and play.
Beyond complaints about stench and concerns about the environment and clean drinking water, the practice included a psychological factor that is too vulgar to adequately be described on the pages of a family newspaper.

Perhaps the closest we can come is to say: "We don't want your stuff."

So we can celebrate the closing of a viable business in our community, despite needing more jobs in a troubled economy. And we can celebrate the success of citizens who complained, and government representatives who listened and acted.

Synagro, a name that has become synonymous with controversy in several north Alabama counties, closed its Leighton facility on Crockett Lane in rural Colbert County where it processed sewage sludge.

"They are gone," said County Commissioner Roger Creekmore. "The gates are locked, the office trailers are gone, the trucks are gone."

And so are the fears and complaints.

Synagro is shipping the smelly stuff to another community in another state after the uproar it experienced in north Alabama. This includes a lawsuit filed against the company in Franklin County and bills approved by the state Legislature that would let residents in Colbert, Franklin and Lawrence counties vote on whether they wanted biosolids distributed in their counties.

A company spokesman, Stephen Bradley, said Synagro always adhered to federal, state and local laws and regulations.

But residents who lived near the facility complained of foul odors and those living near farmland where the biosolid material was distributed were concerned with the possibility of ground water contamination. On the other hand, some farmers liked the cheaper alternative to fertilizer. Most likely they believed it smelled like money.

Anyone who has driven out west knows this country contains regions of wide open spaces with few inhabitants. If New York City can't handle its waste, perhaps it can find better hospitality in a more sparsely populated area than the Shoals.

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