Weatherford Democrat

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June 16, 2013

Raising a stink

While residents complain of the smell, other environmental concerns are aired over spraying of treated sewage on acres of pastureland

By CHRISTIN COYNE

PARKER COUNTY – A company using treated sewage product as an unconventional fertilizer has many near Springtown up in arms.

Area residents say they’ve been driven indoors and dealt with days or weeks of a foul odor sometimes carrying for miles with the wind. Some are concerned about the health and environmental effects of the stinky, dark sludge blanketing pastures and attracting large numbers of flies.

“Dumping of human waste” State Rep. Phil King, R-Weatherford, called it in a statement released last week after his office received complaints.

But the company that applied the sludge – officially designated Class A biosolids – to approximately 200 acres of pastureland on Hutcheson Ranch near Springtown over the past couple weeks says there is a waiting list for the product.

At $20 an acre, farmers have found that it’s an environmentally friendly, cheaper and more long-term and effective way to fertilize their land, according to Ben Davis, manager of biosolids for Renda Environmental Inc.

The property manager leasing the land in Parker County had been on the waiting list for four years, according to Davis, who said Friday that Renda Environmental completed the project Thursday and left the property with no immediate plans to return. 

Still, some area residents, unhappy to learn the process of putting treated sewage products on Parker County land is legal, are organizing to try to keep the stench away from their neighborhood for good.

What is it?

Renda Environmental has had a contract with the City of Fort Worth for about 20 years to handle the residuals management for water and wastewater treatment plants, according to Davis.

They handle the hauling, further processing, required testing and land application of the biosolids, or treated waste product, Davis said, adding that the City of Fort Worth has a permit allowing them to generate Class A biosolids.

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