Facility asking to be allowed to accept food waste
A little less than two years after complaints from neighbors about odors, flies and noise led to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection ordering Barnside Farm Composting to stop taking in food waste and remove what was on the property on Haldeman Road in Lower Salford, Barnside is again asking to be allowed to receive food wastes.
Yard waste, such as leaves, twigs and branches, are also accepted at the site and continue to be allowed. The yard waste composting wasn’t a problem, neighbors said in the late summer and fall of 2010, but the addition of food waste that had begun earlier that year brought with it unbearable odors and flies and early morning noise.
Earlier this month, Lower Salford Township was informed that Barnside is now asking the DEP to reinstate Barnside’s previously authorized permit.
“This project involves the composting of food scrap waste and other materials. The facility will process, at full scale operation, approximately 500 tons per year of food waste,” Terry Keene, senior managing engineer of Barton & Loguidice, P.C., Camp Hill, wrote in the notification letter, dated Aug. 8.
Township officials, though, say they’ve yet to see a copy of what’s been submitted.
“We have asked our attorney to follow up on it, obviously, and to see what can be done and exactly what they’re proposing at this time,” Douglas Gifford, chairman of the Lower Salford Township Board of Supervisors, said.
The DEP, not the township, makes the decision on the composting permit, but questions have also been raised about whether the facility is allowed in the township’s residential zoning district.
James Garrity, Lower Salford’s attorney, said he’s still waiting for a copy of the application, after which it will be analyzed by experts to determine the response.
“We’re looking for whether or not we think it’ll work,” Garrity said, “including the impact on neighboring properties.”
That review will include the truck traffic involved, along with other issues raised, he said.
The legal department of the DEP’s Norristown office received a copy of the application Aug. 27, Deborah Fries, community relations coordi-
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There is currently no time frame for when that might be completed, she said.
“They [Barnside] would need to convince us they could do this process without producing off-site odors nuisance,” Fries said.
The review process does not include public hearings, but it’s too early to say what types of public participation could be involved, she said.
In October 2010, about 60 residents came out for an informational session with DE3 oIfiFLDOs DnG OoFDO sWDWH legislators to discuss Barnside. Along with the conFHrns DEouW oGors, flLHs DnG noise, issues of groundwater contamination were also raised.
At that meeting, it was reported that 280 tons of food waste had been recorded as being brought to the site since May of that year. The reports said only fruits and vegetables were accepted by Barnside, although the permit would have allowed post-consumer food waste, such as cafeteria waste, to also be received.
A call to Barnside for this story was not immediately returned.
In the past, Barnside representatives have said they are taking steps to eliminate the smell from the food composting, while neighbors have expressed doubts that is possible.
Sales representative Tim Esposito and Executive Chef Doug Petruzzi, of Pocono Produce Co., cook omelets at the Farmers’ Pride Food Festival at Generations in Souderton.