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Nazareth, Pa., United States

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Synagro Plans to Bake Shit Cakes at Plainfield Landfill

Just what the Slate Belt needs, a shit bakery.

Synagro is planning to bake shit cakes at the Waste Management Landfill in Plainfield Township, but needs a few variances. Use variances. That's supposed to be the most difficult kind to obtain, requiring proof of a hardship that is not self-created. Last night was the first of two informational meetings concerning the proposal. But though the meeting was held at the spacious Plainfield Township fire hall, there was no room when I arrived.

Ron Angle, who has used Synagro to fertilize some of his farmland, was there. He has questions about the site and the involvement of the Green Knights Economic Development Corporation (GKEDC). They went unanswered. The meeting was a dog-and-pony show, not a question-and-answer session.

Green Knights is an organization that grew out of a once troublesome group called Pen Argyl Area Concerned Citizens. That outfit was asking too many questions. The state DEP and Waste Management bought them off with the promise of a methane to energy plant, something that Waste Management is prohibited from doing directly.

Methane has been good to the Green Knights. It has cleared $600,000-$800,000 in each of the last three years, according to its nonprofit tax returns. It's sitting on a mountain of cash that could be as high as $4 million. That's great news to the slate belt, especially since GKEDC exists to "provide economic relief for poor and distressed local citizens."

But the grants have pretty much dried up. They are down from about $120,000 per year to about $20,000 per year over the past three years. At the same time,the Charter has been changed to accommodate members of an insular Board.

The Synagro proposal, which essentially uses waste heat to bake sludge cakes would mean more revenue for the Green knights, would produce about 16 jobs. It will mean revenue for Synagro and Waste Management as well. But whether this can be done without destroying the environment is another question. I'd like to see those questions addressed. Shit is shit.  It has its good points (feels better than sex on the way out) and its bad points (an odor that has killed innocent people when I eat garlic).  .

If you'd like to read more on this topic, visit Don Moore's informative blog.


donmiles said...

Bernie, as a long-tme zoning attorney I can tell you use variances should almost-always be denied under the law. Uses should be permitted after good land use planning that has been reviewed by the township planning commission and the township supervisors and included in the municipal zoning ordinance. Granting use variances sidesteps land use planning for one-off permits that often conflict with the proper existing zoning of the tract involved. If Synagro wants to have this zoning use, they should apply to the township for a change to the zoning ordinance that will go through regular land use planning.

Full Disclosure: wearing my other hat as chair of the Lehigh Valley Sierra Club, I must admit that the Sierra Club is opposed to the manufacture and use of dried human sewage sludge for agricultural use (what Synagro does), since the product contains numerous toxic and carcinogenic substances that remain in the sludge after municipal sewage plants treat human waste. Everything modern socieity produces eventually winds up in our sewage and the federal and state environmental agencies only test for 10 of the thousands of toxic substances that remain in this sludge. For the detailed testimony to the PA House of Representatives of an environmental sciences professor regarding the toxicity of this sewage sludge, see: http://www.sludgefacts.org/testimony_to_pa.pdf

Anonymous said...

Seems to be two issues.
1. should they allow this zoning exception for a sludge plant?
2. should they allow use of the product on farmers fields, which could impact quality of life?

To date, I've only heard people arguing against the health effects of application on fields, but against the plant. Whether the plant is built or not, the farmers could use the fertilizer, as is happening in UMBT.
Should Synagro build? Based on what I read and view, the plant itself is pretty clean running, by design.
The biggest thing I don't understand, and maybe the more qualified people can answer, if WM is already dumping hundreds of tons of sludge, unprocessed in the landfill, what further negative impact will the Synagro plant bring that we already accept, without even knowing it?

Anonymous said...

Glad to see you watch South Park.

ColleenT said...

Visit the facebook page called Sludge Free Slate Belt for support and more answers

TC said...

First of all, it's not only residential sewer sludge that they want to bring in but medical and industrial sludge. Second, ask the people in UMBT who live next to the farms that the sludge was dumped on how they feel. There getting sick. Third, in the sludge can't be used on farms where what they're growing is for human consumption. So they put the shit down and the corn, or whatever the farmer is growing, sucks up all the pollutants and they feed it to cows, pigs or deer eat it. Then we eat the animal that ate the corn that sucked up the shit. Fourth, look up what happened in Milwaukee. They put the shit on the grass in ball fields and playgrounds. 30 fields had to be closed because they were contaminated with PCB's, after the shit was applied. Lastly, Google "illnesses related to sludge and see what you get.

Anonymous said...

Plainfield township supervisor Steven Hurni is in an obvious conflict of interest here. He is also sitting on the Green Knight Economic board..who came up with this hair brain idea in the first place. GK board is supposed to be made up of citizens from the three local muni's..Wind Gap,Pen Argyl and Plainfield township...not elected public officials. He needs to resign from the GK board now and abstain from any votes on this project. A clear conflict of interest.

Anonymous said...

I love Mr hidey hoe, but this is the shit holding the craZy chalk of the triboro cesspool together? When a person with full blown AIDS or just the start HIV does there duty and pinches a licolnlog to be flushed and transported to syngro! Than it is cooked making a highbreed infection! The mutated infection mutates to live outside of a host while being boiled to a more hyperboiled infection like the hypes selling this shitstorm as hope!

The words are changed butt the storyline allways seems to rise and fall in the same category,was the PowerPoint express there too?
REpublican redd
Humanist by design

Anonymous said...

The cozy relationship between the Green Knight board and Waste Management is a big concern. Do these board members hold stock in WM? Do we know those facts? Do we need to right to know them to find out? I think that board has been set up to further the interests of WM and assure the continued expansion and operation of the landfill for years to come by placing this shit plant right on WM land for their use adjacent to the landfill on Pen Argyl boro's doorstep.

Anonymous said...

What a crappy situation