Fa­cil­ity ask­ing to be al­lowed to ac­cept food waste

Souderton Independent - - FRONT PAGE - By Bob Keeler

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-

na­tor, said.

TKH DSSOLFDWLon wHnW firsW to Harrisburg, ap­par­ently be­cause the orig­i­nal per­mit wDs Ls­suHG IroP WKDW oI­fiFH, she said. Both the Nor­risWown DnG HDr­rLsEurJ oI­fiFHs of the DEP will be in­volved in re­view­ing the new ap­pli­ca­tion, she said.

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.

Soud­er­ton In­de­pen­dent pho­tos — SU­SAN KEEN

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.

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