In June, the state Department of Agriculture and Markets notified Wheatfield that its biosolids law runs contrary to the state’s “right-to-farm” law, which protects farms from arbitrary restrictions. Biosolids are treated and tested solids from wastewater that are used as soil amendments.
The state found “Wheatfield did not provide any new information demonstrating that the existing … regulations for the land application of biosolids in New York have not been adequate to protect the public health and safety.” The state Health Department concurs.
Unfortunately, the Wheatfield Town Board is challenging the ruling and defending the local ban.
In its response (available at the Wheatfield website), the board claims that Agriculture and Markets “ignored … evidence concerning the inadequacy of the federal and state governments’ outdated biosolids regulations and … failed to address … unfavorable local soil conditions.”
The town’s entrenched position is unfortunate and unnecessary. Decades of research at universities across North America, two National Academy of Science reviews and regular reviews of regulations have determined that regulated biosolids use is acceptable – and beneficial. And local soil conditions are addressed under New York regulations; if a local soil doesn’t meet the research-based requirements, then biosolids can’t be applied
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