Sludge Watch
Pennsylvania farmers agree to stop spreading sludge
LOCAL CONTROL ? want to be good neighbors Kutztown & Maxatawny?

From: Helane Shields (
Sent: Fri 3/21/08 9:12 PM
----- Original Message -----
From: "Maureen Reilly"
Sent: Friday, March 21, 2008 12:18 PM
Subject: Sludge Watch ==> Pennsylvania farmers agree to stop spreadingsludge - want to be good neighbors
Borough council members, who were concerned the biosolids might contaminate municipal wells, ratify the deal.

By Michelle Park
Reading Eagle
3/18/2008 11:39:00 PM

Kutztown, PA -  The Maxatawny Township farmers who sparked concern because 
they were using sewage sludge and slaughterhouse waste for fertilizer have 
agreed to stop.

Kutztown Borough Council ratified an agreement with farmers Elmer Zimmerman, 
Ammon Zimmerman Sr. and Ammon Zimmerman Jr. at its meeting Tuesday night.

It stipulates that the farmers cannot have the sludge and waste materials 
delivered to their farms without the written consent of Kutztown.

If they do, borough officials can pursue legal action, Borough Manager 
Jaymes A. Vettraino said.

The farmers can spread the materials that already have been delivered to 
their properties, he added.

Reached by phone Tuesday, a woman who said she was Ammon Zimmerman Jr.'s 
wife confirmed the agreement. She said the materials were spread mostly on 
two farms.

We decided we can't have sludge and good neighbors, so we picked the 
good neighbors, said the woman, who would not give her name.

The biosolids have been spread on at least one of the Zimmerman farms since 
2006, said Mark D. Reider, the state technical service director for Synagro 
Technologies Inc., the Houston-based company that hauls and spreads the 

A public outcry began last August when neighbors found out the biosolids 
were being aplied.

Since then, Kutztown and Maxatawny Township officials have publicly said 
they wanted the farmers to stop using the materials.

Vettraino said the concern in Kutztown was that the materials could 
contaminate the borough's well water supply, which serves about 20,000 
people. The wellheads are about 1,000 feet from the farms.

We  certainly appreciate ... their offer to discontinue, he said.

Maxatawny Township resident Bernadette A. Ward does, too. She lives next to 
one of the farms.

That's really good news for us, she said.   It means with summer 
coming up, we'll be able to go outside ... without having that horrendous, 
horrendous smell.

Ward, however, is concerned the agreement is merelly a Band-Aid.

"There's nothing to stop another farmer getting into an agreement with 
Synagro," she said, noting that neither the township nor the borough can 
force a farmer to stop using biosolids.

The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection regulates the land 
application of biosolids in the state.

Reider said he thinks the Zimmermans have ended their participation with 
Synagro as a result of newspaper articles and harassment by neighbors.

It is always up to our farmers to participate in our program, he 
said, adding that Synagro does not require contracts.that's  the way it 
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