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Stafford bans fracking, OKs septic waste on two fields

STAFFORD – The Stafford Town Board unanimously passed a local law Monday that bans hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

The Town Board, however, continued to permit the spreading of septic waste on farm fields, a practice that has come under fire from residents and environmentalists.

“Any hydrofracking is banned along with the spreading of the waste that comes out of the well,” Supervisor Robert S. Clement said. “It’s not a common practice to spread this material. There are facilities where this can be hauled to.”

Clement said he voted in favor of the law in response to the overwhelming public support for it.

“Initially I was against it, but nobody spoke against it (at Monday’s public hearing),” he said. “As an elected official, I’m responding to the people.”

The board has grappled with this issue for three years, forming research committees and enacting moratoriums along the way.

It also conducted meetings to gauge residents’ opinions on hydrofracking and the spreading of septic waste, particularly by A.D. Call & Sons, a longtime Stafford business that installs and repairs septic systems and also offers a variety of trucking services.

Last April, environmentalists John Volpe of Attica and Chris Krtanik of East Bethany spoke out against the spreading of septic waste at a contentious Town Hall meeting of about 40 residents.

Clement said Monday’s 4-0 vote renews a special use permit that allows Call & Sons to spread the septic waste on two farm fields – one owned by the Calls and another resident’s property north of Route 5.

“Along with the special use permit, the Calls are monitored closely by the DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation),” Clement said.

The permit is subject to yearly review, Clement said.