Plan To Dump Compost Is Opposed

Posted: February 08, 1987

About 70 officials and residents from Monroe and Winslow Townships urged the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) yesterday to reject plans to apply composted sewage sludge to farmland in their communities.

During a 3 1/2-hour meeting in the Monroe Township Municipal Building, officials and residents expressed fears that the compost would create environmental problems and that the DEP's testing methods were inadequate.

One DEP official said he was surprised by the protest over the plans.

"The reason I'm here today and didn't send a staff person is because I'm hearing objections to a plan we thought wasn't a problem," said Arnold Schiffman, administrator of the DEP's Water Quality Management Division.

Ed Stella Jr., of Stella Contracting Inc. in Winslow, has asked the DEP for permission to apply composted sludge to a 50-acre farm he owns in Winslow and a 70-acre Monroe farm owned by Nicholas C. Muni. Stella said earlier in the week that the project might not get under way because the composted sludge is unavailable.

Stella receives the compost from the Philadelphia Water Department, which pays him and other haulers to take it away. In past years, he has dumped the compost on land in Millville, but that community has gone to court to prevent him from continuing the practice.

Although Stella has requested approval of dumping sites in Gloucester and Camden Counties, he said yesterday that the Water Department may no longer have enough of the sludge to go around.

Schiffman and Tim Cochran, an environmental specialist for the DEP's residual management division, told the residents that preliminary tests on the

Monroe site, located on the Black Horse Pike near Hospitality Creek, show that the site is suitable. The Winslow site, on Route 73 near Pump Branch Road, has not been tested, they said.

Schiffman said he would re-evaluate the DEP's testing process before making a decision.

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