New Kent County residents start petition, asking for denial of sludge permit

Industrial residuals are produced by the treatment of wastewater and the result of a specific industrial process. In this case, it's the byproduct of chicken or hog slaughter and paper packaging.

This has local authorities and residents concerned, as the impact of sludge on local soil and water is unknown.

“Aren't you trying to protect the Chesapeake Bay?” asked New Kent Board of Supervisors member Tommy Tiller. “That's all DEQ has been talking about.”

Supervisor Ron Stiers also voiced his concern about the chemicals that the sludge could bring to the earth, including arsenic.

The New Kent Board of Supervisors is not the only local governing body to voice its concerns about industrial sludge.

King and Queen and King William counties, as well as the town of West Point, have already sent letters to the SWCB requesting that the permit be denied.

The Citizens Against Sludge, a newly formed group of concerned citizens throughout the commonwealth, also claim there are plenty of reasons the SWCB should not approve Synagro's permit application.

“We don't think you should spread this stuff around,” said Citizens Against Sludge creator John Davenport, of King William.

“We want to keep our environment and our residents from being harmed by the runoff.”

The King and Queen Board of Supervisors recently submitted a 24-page letter to the DEQ that addressed the shortcomings in the agency's regulations and monitoring of industrial sludge.

“Simply put, the commonwealth has never created the necessary regulatory and monitoring framework to support land application of industrial sludge,” the board said.

“Industrial sludge (contains) blood, feathers, skin, offal, fat, tissue, chemicals and heavy metals, and receive little, if any, treatment,” the board added.

“It is imprudent, unsafe and frankly negligent to approve the permit in King and Queen County because of the nature, topography, water courses, vast RPA/RMA features and the presence and daily use of thousands of wells.”

The New Kent Board of Supervisors will meet on Aug. 11 starting at 6 p.m. in the county administration boardroom to discuss the sludge permit.

The Deny Synagro LLC Permit petition can be reviewed and signed at

Hathaway is encouraging residents to attend the Aug. 11 board meeting and to speak during the public comment period about their concerns related to sludge.

Martin can be reached by phone at 804-885-0040.