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HCSA ponders low-cost options for sludge disposal

SoVaNow.com / November 20, 2017


With Halifax County struggling to keep the costs of sludge disposal in check, the Halifax County Service Authority will consider alternatives to the landfill — perhaps by seeing if sludge can be repurposed as fertilizer.

The HCSA board authorized $12,500 to fund a study to determine ways to cut the county’s sludge disposal bills.

“This has been one of our biggest expenses,” said Dexter Gilliam, HCSA chairman, who explained that the service authority spends about $200,000 each year on sludge disposal. “We’d like to cut that amount by half.”

Gilliam noted the volume of solid waste in Halifax County continues to rise, and so will the HCSA’s expenses unless alternatives are found to sending sludge to the regional landfill in Mecklenburg.

USDA Rural Development provides a financial assistance program that offers matching pre-development grants of $25,000 to plan for such projects. The HCSA has successfully applied for such a grant, contingent on the matching amount of $12,500 approved by the board on a unanimous 4-0 vote. Three members were absent Thursday, Stewart Nelson, Joe Barkley and Kathy Bane.

The study will be conducted by Dewberry.

The engineering and consulting firm will be looking at five alternative options for sludge disposal, which include applying sludge cake to non-dedicated agricultural land as well as making the material available as fertilizer to citizens and commercial users. Dewberry will report back to the board on its report and recommendations.

Also at its Thursday meeting, the HCSA board approved the expenditure of $16,180 to purchase new GPS equipment.

Representatives of Dominion Energy spoke at the meeting on the utility’s request to close off Estes Street and portions of Oakes Avenue near Dominion’s building on North Main Street. The Town of South Boston has named a board of viewers to study the request and bring back to Council a report at their December meeting.

Since the service authority has a tank and other equipment located behind Dominion’s property, HCSA executive director Mark Estes presented his recommendations for a new access way to the property, which Dominion indicated it will support. Estes pointed out that his proposal will provide for better access to the HCSA tank and equipment behind the Dominion headquarters, while giving the utility a safer entry to its expanded facilities.

Both sides agreed to further study their options as they await the recommendation from the board of viewers. Gilliam said a special meeting of the HCSA on Dec. 4 will be advertised should one be needed to discuss the project.

Board members also moved to accept a proposal for their financial services from Benchmark Community Bank. The regional banking firm has offered the HCSA no fees, business credits and $800 monthly interest on its deposits which now total about $2.4 million. Two other banks, SunTrust and American National, also bid on the proposal.

Estes also introduced the Servline Affinity Program, which offers protection on water and sewer leaks as well as water line protection. The insurance would incur a $6.10 monthly fee of $500 insurance covering leaks for both water and sewer customers, $7.30 per month for $1,000 leaks or $8.40 for leaks costing more than $2,500.

Estes said the Authority suffers from four or five leaks each month, but it has its own leak policy which covers excessive use outside or in enclosed crawl space which allows for help to the customer.

According to the leak policy, the average consumption shall be computed from the 12 month water billing records which along with the receipt of repairs will adjust by one-half the amount of excess water used. Only one adjustment will be given within an 18 month period.

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Comments

Oh yea great idea. Let's spread it over fields where our food is grown. "Sewage sludge regularly tests positive for a host of heavy metals, flame retardants, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, pharmaceuticals, phthalates, dioxins, and a host of other chemicals and organisms. Of the thousands of contaminants that have been found in sludge, the U.S. government regulates exactly 10 of them (nine heavy metals and fecal coliform) if you want to spread the sludge on farm fields growing food crops."
http://www.foodsafetynews.com/2010/10/sewage-sludge-as-fertilizer-safe/#.WhLmbmxDEy8

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/12/17/toxic-sewage-sludge-in-your-food.aspx

Comments

Every effort should be made to isolate the sludge from backyards, rivers and streams and keep it as far away from ground water as possible.
"If you’re looking for a compelling reason to switch to a primarily organic diet, the fact that it is free from sewage sludge fertilizers is a very good one. Sewage sludge, or “biosolids” -- as they’re referred to with a PR spin -- began being “recycled” into food crops when, ironically, it was realized that dumping them into rivers, lakes and bays was an environmental disaster."
Michelle Obama didn't poison her own garden.
http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2009/06/did-sludge-lace-obamas-veggie-garden-lead/#


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