State agency to hold hearing on waste disposal

Posted Monday, Jul. 15, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The spreading of human waste as fertilizer on about 200 acres near Springtown by a Fort Worth company is raising so much of a stink that a state agency is planning to hold a public hearing to allow residents to air their complaints.

Parker County officials announced Monday that the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality has tentatively scheduled a “stakeholders meeting” for Aug. 13 at the Springtown Senior Center, 1070 N. Main St. where individuals who live near the fields can speak out.

Parker County Judge Mark Riley said the smell from the “ human biosolids” being spread on the farmland near Springtown by Renda Environmental Inc. of Fort Worth is simply unacceptable.

“I can’t believe it was properly done when you have the odor, the flies in overwhelming numbers,” Riley said. “You could drive down the road, roll down your window and your car would fill with flies.”

Renda Environmental, which gets the material from the Village Creek Water Reclamation Facility in Fort Worth, could not be reached for comment Monday, but officials have been previously quoted as saying the company is not doing anything improper.

The situation came to light earlier this year when people who live near where the material was being spread were assaulted by noxious odors and flies. It was discovered that Renda Environmental was spreading wet biosolids from Fort Worth on the 200 acres.

Parker County officials have complained to Fort Worth about how Renda is handling the material, which is made from a variety of human and industrial waste.

A Fort Worth official defended how Renda is handling what it gets from the city’s treatment plant, although the city has asked the company to stop applying it in Parker County for the time being.

“The testing has never shown a violation of TCEQ rules,” said Mary Gugliuzza, a spokeswoman for the Fort Worth Water Department. “As far as I know this application was the same as all the others.”

Fort Worth treats the sewage for more than 20 days, using an anaerobic bacteria to break down the solid portion of the waste water, before releasing it to Renda, she said.

Renda then takes that sludge and adds lime to stabilize it. It also removes water from it, eventually creating a fertilizer that is applied to a farmer’s fields, Gugliuzza said.

Parker County officials have blamed part of the problem on the fact that the fertilizer has not always been churned into the soil, but Gugliuzza said there are no state requirements to do so.

“That would be up to the farmer,” she said.

Parker County officials were not the first to complain about Renda’s operations. Wise County property owners convinced State Rep Phil King, R-Weatherford, to ask the TCEQ to look into the matter, but he said that “current regulations are insufficient to protect neighboring property owners.”

This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.

Terry Evans, 817-390-7620 Twitter: @fwstevans

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