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

(Continued)

Biosolids, or organic residual or treated and processed wastewater, must meet certain metal limits and certain pathogen and vector attraction reduction requirements to be considered Class A, according to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality.

No permit is needed to apply the Class A sludge, TCEQ reported. Instead, the state must be notified of the intent to use biosolids on the property.

It’s a slow-release fertilizer compared to other commercial fertilizers, feeding plants for several years and reconditioning the soil, Davis said.

“Its better for the environment. It’s doesn’t leach off,” Davis said, adding that the salts are bound up in organic matter, unlike most commercial fertilizers.

“Odors typically go away fairly quickly, usually within a couple days after application,” he said. Some are more sensitive to the smell than others, noting that the company’s employees work around it every day. 

Though it was placed on top of pastures at Hutcheson Ranch, they recommend tilling the sludge into the soil to conserve nitrogen and help with the odor, according to Davis.

“It is a really great product,” Davis said. “There’s a lot of misperception about it and that’s understandable.”

Davis said he believes that calling it “human waste” is inaccurate because it is has been treated to eliminate bacteria and pathogens.

“It’s almost sterilized when we bring it out,” Davis said.

“It’s great for the environment,” Davis said. “It’s great for the soil. It really is a boost for the farmer.”

Though Renda Environmental has applied the sludge in Parker County during previous years, including last year south of Weatherford, it isn’t one of the primary areas they apply the treated sewage in North Texas.

They are more often in areas such as Johnson, Hill or Wise counties, according to Davis.

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