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)

A third complainant stated that the smell made them gag and compared it to the smell of a “dead body in a septic tank.”

“We take every precaution that we can to ensure that we’re not causing any odors or other problems,” Davis said, adding that they prefer the product to be tilled into the soil and try to be responsive to issues.

“It’s tough,” Davis said. “It’s naturally going to have some odor to it.”

Several complained of numerous flies that appeared to be attracted to the treated sewage. During a brief drive with open windows through a recently treated area, a Democrat reporter witnessed dozens of flies enter the vehicle within minutes. 

Asked about the flies, Davis said that the product attracting flies was unlikely.  He said quick lime is added to raise the pH level and deter the flies.

Conley noted vegetation in a field where the sludge was applied several days earlier appeared to have been “burned off” by the fertilizer, with small mesquite trees and other plants appearing wilted or killed.

However, Davis said he doubted the company’s product caused an issue like that.

“This isn’t material that’s considered hot,” Davis said.

Response

“The DFW Region  Office is conducting investigations based on receipt of nine complaints alleging nuisance odors from the land application of biosolids in an area of Parker County,” Andrea Morrow, spokeswoman for TCEQ stated. “The DFW staff made an initial onsite investigation on June 5, 2013. The primary focus of our investigation is odor. During an odor investigation, we assess the frequency, intensity, duration and offensiveness of an odor to determine if nuisance conditions exist. During the June 5th investigation, very light, intermittent earthy odors of biosolids were observed at the properties of two of the complainants. Our investigation will also include an evaluation of Renda’s operations to ensure all processing requirements are met.”

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