Weatherford Democrat

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June 20, 2013

State to look at biosolids rules after odor complaints

Trinity River Authority opposes sludge rule changes

(Continued)

Riley said he has requested additional information from TCEQ regarding Renda Environmental and the use of the “biosolids.”

Local officials, including State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, hope to find a longer-term solution to the issue by pursuing changes to state regulations.

“A petition was filed with the TCEQ on May 13, 2013, by an individual landowner in Ellis County,” TCEQ spokeswoman Andrea Morrow stated. “The petitioner requested that the commission amend 30 TAC Chapter 312, Sludge Use, Disposal and Transportation, in order to prohibit the land application of sludge in, or within, 3 miles of a city limit in a county with a population of 140,000 or more that is located adjacent to a county with a population between 2 (million) and 4 million.”

“It turns out the Ellis County petition is based on actions by Renda Environmental Inc., the same company that is using this human waste fertilizer in Wise and Parker county,” Riley said.

Though the proposed rule wouldn’t apply to Parker County, that could change during the rulemaking process, according to TCEQ.

Stakeholder meetings are expected to be scheduled for interested parties to provide input into development of the rule. Riley requested Tuesday that Parker County be considered a stakeholder, according to the judge’s office.

“Additionally, once a draft rule is approved, the proposed rule would be published in the Texas Register for public comment,” Morrow stated. “TCEQ will respond to all comments and then propose the final rule for commission adoption.”

Several entities have come out against changing the regulations, including the Trinity River Authority, which also contracts for removal of biosolids in the DFW area. In a letter requesting the commission dismiss the petition, the TRA argued that current regulations already address the issues of odor nuisance and fish kill allegations and that the adoption of proposed rules threatens to needlessly burden a practice already adequately regulated.

The land application of biosolids is a proven practice with many environmental and economic benefits, saving taxpayers money and hundreds of thousands of cubic yards of landfill space each year in DFW, according to the TRA.

Those who’d like to participate in the process can find more information at www.tceq.texas.gov/rules/participate.html.

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