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The Press Newspaper

Toledo, Ohio & Lake Erie

The Press Newspaper

The Press Newspaper

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        A resolution asking the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to cease allowing the application of Class B biosolids on farmland in Lake Township has been approved by the township trustees.

        The trustees Tuesday unanimously approved the resolution, which states the sludge can run off from fields into creeks and rivers that drain into Lake Erie and exacerbate the lake’s algae problem.

        Also, the township’s urbanized areas have increased and “are not suited for the original agricultural intent of land application of the biosolids,” the resolution says.

        “It’s a state-regulated issue but it becomes a local government problem,” Mark Hummer, township administrator, said.

        The trustees were informed recently by the Ohio EPA that residue from the City of Toledo’s Bayview waste water treatment plant can be applied to a 73-acre field in the township. The field is located on the south side of Ayers Road, east of I-280.

        The OEPA said it considered the site’s soil type, distance from residences, ground water conditions and proximity to waterways and wells in making its decision to authorize the application of Class B biosolids.

        The OEPA defines biosolids, which are often reused as fertilizer, as treated solid, semi-solid or liquid residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage. The biosolids may contain micro-organisms after treatment.

        Hummer reported to the trustees during their Aug. 1 meeting that a resident adjacent to the field had contacted him with concerns when the application started.

        The resident claimed he hadn’t been notified prior to the application starting.

        “He also had some questions about the field’s proximity to Ayers Creek,” Hummer said at the time.

        According to the OEPA site authorization letter, the field in Lake Township is owned by Becky Lumbrezer-Box and is primarily silty clay loam.

        The land application request was submitted to the OEPA by Synagro on behalf of the Bayview treatment plant.

        In December 2014, Synagro, a Baltimore-based company, announced it had an agreement with the City of Toledo for a five-year biosolids recycling program that would save the city $900,000 annually by avoiding landfilling costs.

        Under the agreement, Synagro said:       

-Toledo’s biosolids will be used as fertilizer on farm land, eliminating the need for more than 400 tons of chemical fertilizer.

-The use of biosolids as fertilizer will reduce the potential for phosphorus runoff to waterways by 98 percent.

-The program will be in compliance with Ohio’s environmental regulations.

        According to the website sludgefacts.org, some pathogenic bacteria and viruses can survive treatment processes used to produce biosolids (Class A and Class B); and many pathogens, such as salmonella and staphylococcus, can re-grow to high levels in biosolids, which is mostly comprised of human feces.

        Other fields in the township have also been approved to receive biosolids from Toledo’s wastewater treatment plant, according to the OEPA website.

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