Committee to study agricultural use of processed sludge

The town’s Conservation Commission has established a study committee to look at the agricultural use of Type 1 biosolids, a waste-water treatment plant leftover that state environmental officals have deemed safe for farmers to use to improve their soil. Conservation agent John DeLano recently met with farmers, town officials, and residents, to discuss the use of the processed sludge as fertilizer on local fields, following complaints from abutters over odor and dust, and queries regarding possible health impacts. The study committee will consider possible impacts on water and soil, health impacts for those with respiratory problems, and look at “best practices” for applying the treated sludge. DeLano said the committee is made up of “stakeholders,” and includes representatives from the Water Department, Conservation and Agricultural commissions, Board of Health, the farming community, and residents at large. The conservation agent said Earth Source, which provides the treated sludge to area farmers, the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and the US Department of Agriculture’s regional office in Wareham will be invited to attend study committee meetings. The committee will report its findings to the Conservation Commission by the end of the calendar year.

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