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Fertilizer fight: Use of BioSolid causing controversy

By Meghan Packer, Reporter, MPacker@wfmz.com
Published On: Nov 20 2013 05:05:55 PM CST
Updated On: Nov 21 2013 06:00:50 AM CST

Fertilizer fight: Use of BioSolid causing controversy

UPPER MOUNT BETHEL TWP., Pa. -

A former Northampton County councilman is making plans for his farmland and not everyone's happy about it.

"There is no cow manure anymore. People went to crop farming, so there's no way of putting that type of fertilizer on the fields anymore. There's just no cows around to do it," said Ron Angle.

He plans to use another kind of fertilizer called biosolids on his farmland in Upper Mount Bethel Township.

"That's predominately what it is, human waste, and they do treat it with lime and they test it and it's frankly very little different than cow manure."

But several neighbors are upset and have concerns about what's added during the treatment process. They fear for their health.

Diane Zimmerer said, "We have rights and I want my rights heard. I'm a landowner also and I want them heard."

"This product what they call fertilizer is not fertilizer," said Lewis Donatelli. "To save a couple of lousy bucks on lime, they're jeopardizing everybody's life and health here."

Shawnah Flyte lives right next to one of the properties on which Angle plans to use the product.

"My mama bear claws want to come out and protect my children," said Flyte, who has six children. "There's a type A, there's a type B. I've already called the company myself, they want to do A and B. B contains pathogens, I don't want that, it's right here, my kids play right here."

Angle stands by it.

He said, "Penn State's research said not only do we feel it's good, we recommend it, why put sludge in a landfill."

"They do it by DEP standards and DEP rules as to how they can do it. It's inspected by DEP, monitored by DEP," said Angle. "They stay 300 feet away from all of the houses, they stay away from wetland."

Angle has a message for the people who are upset.

"Do your research," he said. "Can the DEP and Penn State University, after a vast study, both be wrong and you be right because you happen to live in a house and you think it's going to bother you."

"There's never been any proof anywhere through the years that sludge does anything to affect your health," said Angle.

The state Department of Environmental Protection says biosolids are an acceptable use of land treatment and anyone who wants to use them has to get DEP permission.

The DEP has received Angle's application and has 30 days to review it. The DEP still has to come out to inspect his land.