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July 21, 2013

Biosolids concerns topic of August TCEQ meeting

Company cited for violation

By CHRISTIN COYNE

Parker County residents will have the opportunity to air their concerns regarding application of treated sewage in the area at a Texas Commission on Environmental Quality meeting scheduled for next month.

The meeting is set for 7 p.m. on Aug. 13 at the Springtown Senior Center.

Dozens of Springtown area residents made an outcry during early June about the stink coming from a site off Hutcheson Hill Road where Fort Worth contractor Renda Environmental was spreading biosolids across the top of hundreds of acres of pastureland as a fertilizer.

Many residents said they could not go outside because of the smell. Others said the smell made them feel ill. Some were concerned about health and environmental effects of the foul-smelling treated sewage product that attracted many flies to the area.

Though the TCEQ investigated 15 complaints made by Parker County residents, the application of the sludge continued for nearly three weeks in Parker County.

Renda says the sludge is safe, environmentally-friendly and shouldn’t attract flies.

There is no permit required or other restrictions, such as buffer zones, enforced when applying the sludge because of the higher standards for Class A biosolids, which must meet certain metal limits as well as meet certain pathogen and vector attraction reduction requirements according to the TCEQ. Instead, the company notifies the state of where they intend to apply the biosolids, and local officials can do little to prohibit it.

After receiving numerous complaints, as well, local elected officials became involved, including Commissioner George Conley, County Judge Mark Riley and State Rep. Phil King.

Both King and Riley contacted Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price and the city told the contractor to cease application of the sludge at the Parker County site.

Riley also went to the commission’s June meeting in Austin in an attempt to get state regulations on biosolids application changed.

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