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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session


Posted: February 26, 2015 09:42 AM
From: Representative Michael K. Hanna
To: All House members
Subject: Prohibiting the Application of Sewage Sludge under a Land Reclamation Permit in a Source Water Protection Area and Providing for Public Comment
In the near future, I will be reintroducing legislation that would amend the Solid Waste Management Act of 1980 to protect public drinking water sources and increase citizen involvement in the process regarding surface land application of sewage sludge.

As you may know, sewage sludge has been used to facilitate the revegetation of land that has been left barren as a result of surface mining activities. While sewage sludge adds organic matter to spur the growth of vegetation, in certain instances, it may also introduce toxins into the soil. The land application of a large volume of sewage sludge, as is the case in many land reclamation projects, potentially increases the quantity of toxins that may be introduced into the environment and may also increase the concentration of otherwise benign compounds to harmful levels. Both scenarios are of particular concern if the surface water in the area is used to supply public drinking water.

My legislation would prohibit the application of sewage sludge in a source water protection area, under a land reclamation permit for the land application of sewage sludge. The bill would also require the state Department of Environmental Protection to conduct at minimum, one public hearing for the purpose of receiving information at least 180 days prior to the application of sewage sludge under a land reclamation permit for the surface land application of sewage sludge.

While the land application of sewage sludge may be beneficial in certain circumstances, particularly when lesser quantities are involved, the use of large volumes of sewage sludge to reclaim lands should not occur in a source water protection area where it could impact public water supplies. In other situations where sewage sludge is land applied under a land reclamation permit, local officials and residents must be given ample time to study and comment on the proposal before it is implemented.

Please join me in sponsoring this important legislation. If you have any questions, please contact Lynette Perkins via e-mail at LMPerkins@pahouse.net or via phone at 717-772-2283.

Introduced as HB738