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Wales board bides time on biosolids decision

Unlike their counterparts in Marilla, members of the Wales Town Board aren’t sure how they will proceed with their efforts to regulate the use and storage of biosolids in town.

Councilman Michael Simon said a committee charged with researching biosolids and recommending what should be included in a local law is close to a consensus on drafting a one-year moratorium.

Simon added he hopes that the draft will soon be forwarded to the rest of the Town Board for additional input.

“We’ve been through several drafts; there were a lot of interesting discussions,” Simon said.

“The committee has people who have a lot of different viewpoints,” he said.

A byproduct of a process that uses anaerobic digesters to break down organic waste into methane gas, biosolids are often referred to as “sewage sludge” because they contain human waste.

Simon said that committee members on Monday were joined by a handful of Town Board members for a tour of a biosolid facility in West Seneca operated by Quasar Energy Group.

The visit, which Supervisor Rickey Venditti termed “very informative,” lasted more than two hours.

“It was one question after another,” Simon added. “It was very productive.”

Simon said the tour revealed “a lot of information and misinformation” on both sides of the argument.

“It was an eye-opener,” Simon said. “What I thought was going to be a very simple issue has really turned into a complex situation.”

Councilwoman Jude Hartrich plans to arrange a separate committee visit to a local water treatment facility that supplies raw materials for Quasar’s digesters to learn more.

Simon said the committee and town board still have difficult decisions to make before enacting a local law, adding he hasn’t made up his own mind on biosolids.

Meanwhile, the Marilla Town Board will unveil its proposed local law to regulate biosolids Thursday during a 7:30 p.m. public hearing.

A Marilla farmer last year struck a deal with Quasar to store biosolids on his property, which prompted that town board to act quicker. No farmer in Wales is known to have expressed an interest in using the product.