Approximately 100 concerned citizens from communities throughout Western New York attended an informational seminar on Sept. 14, sponsored by Western New York Sludge Free Alliance and held at the Frontier Volunteer Fire Co. firehall in Wheatfield.
Dr. Murray McBride, a professor of soil science at Cornell University, presented data and information on regulations regarding contaminants found in sewage sludge, which is being marketed and used as a fertilizer.
Quasar Energy is currently using sewage sludge among other materials in its anaerobic digester and applying the end product, known as equate, to farmland in the area. This practice has been a source of heated debate in many local communities, including Wheatfield, Marilla, Pendleton, Cambria and Lewiston. Opponents note that contaminants can be absorbed into the crops and livestock and then eaten by consumers. Cross-contamination of water and surrounding properties as well as heavy metal build-up in the soil was also discussed at the seminar.
A copy of the presentation is posted on the Wheatfield Against Sludge Facebook page.