Smelly Sludge To Landfill

Posted: January 24, 1991

In the ongoing battle to control odor, the Valley Forge Sewer Authority has yielded to local pressure and agreed to ship more sludge to landfills.

"The more you have, the more likely it is to produce odors," said Joseph S. Bateman, general manager of the sewage treatment facility in Schuylkill Township.

The sewage treatment plant, which serves eight Main Line municipalities, is expected to produce about 11,300 tons of sludge this year, Bateman said. Of that, about 2,100 tons of the claylike residue was scheduled to go to a landfill. The rest is used as fertilizer by local farmers.

But mud, frozen ground and crops can make it impossible to use farm land for sludge disposal. Then it piles up. And stinks, residents have complained.

So, to help reduce the putrid pile, Bateman expects to use already scarce landfill space for about 1,500 additional tons of sludge this year. That could cost as much as $76.50 per ton versus $15 per ton to haul the stuff to farmers.

Bateman called the decision "the best short-term step the authority can take to ensure that odors are minimized."

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