Request filed to fertilize fields with human waste

Published 8:25 am Friday, June 11, 2010

CAPRON—Residents can learn about a proposal to fertilize 751 acres of farmland in Drewryville, Branchville and Capron with treated human waste.

The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which must issue a permit to the company that plans to apply the waste, will provide information during a public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 23, at Capron Elementary School.

A similar project was done on 1,168 acres in Courtland in April, said Robert E. Smithson, senior environmental engineer with the Department of Environmental Quality in Virginia Beach.

“It does have an odor when applied,” Smithson said. “It’s short-lived, and within a matter of a day or two (it’s gone).”

Recyc Systems of Remington would like to spread human waste from municipal sewage systems on 36 fields on farms operated by Carter Smith, Allen Edwards and Fox Farms, according to a public notice. The same company last year received permission to treat 1,168 acres covering 23 fields on six farms in the Courtland area.

Farmers hire companies like Recyc to fertilize fields, which are planted with hay and grains, Smithson said.

“It’s excellent fertilizer that holds moisture, and adds body to the soil and actually helps the field,” he said.

Recyc would like to fertilize fields with the treated bio-solids about once every three years, Smithson said. The company must follow guidelines for buffer zones, which include not applying the waste within 200 feet of a home, 100 feet of a property line and 50 feet of surface waters, including streams and ditches.

Adjacent property owners have been notified about the proposal.

There were no complaints from the first application of human waste in Courtland, Smithson said.