The Selectmen
Town of Farmington, NH

June 10, 2003
[read to the selectmen at the June 9 meeting]

To the Selectmen:

On May 14, 2003, after having previously told Selectmen McCarthy and
Elliott that Barron Bros was spreading sludge on their gravel pit on the
Watson Corner Road, I called CEO Paul Charron.

Charron said that the stuff Barron Bros was spreading may not be sludge,
adding, "You prove it, Jane."  He also said he "can't be spending the
town's money testing sludge."

I asked the CEO if he went to the site; he said he did.  I asked the CEO if
he asked Butch Barron if the stuff was sludge, and the CEO replied, "I did
ask him, but (Butch) is not admitting that."  The CEO added that Butch
Barron said the stuff he was spreading was (in the CEO's words), "okay to
spread."

Knowing that DES has records of all sludge deliveries made in the state, I
asked DES what deliveries were made to Barron Bros, and by way of answer
from Mike Rainey, the attached complaint filed by John Barrett in 1997
about odors coming from Barron Bros's site.   The complaint form verifies
that the stuff Barrett found offensive was sludge from Springfield, MA,
delivered by BFI (Browning Ferris) to Barron Bros. In that form, "Compost"
is a euphemism for "sludge."

Rather than refer to our town's own ban on stockpiling and landspreading
ALL sludge not generated within the the town of Farmington, the CEO chose
to fire a number of questions at DES - questions which indicate he hasn't a
clear grasp of what sludge is.  In his questions which he emailed to DES,
the CEO doesn't mention that Farmington has in place a sludge ordinance
banning the stockpiling and landspreading of sludge.  Perhaps had the CEO
made that clear, DES would have told him that the state has no part to play
in the enforcement of that ordinance.  Perhaps the CEO is unfamiliar with
TITLE LXIV, Section 676:14 (attached).  DES replied to the CEO's questions,
with a few significant screwups of their own; the one that is easiest to
grasp is their monkeying with words - for example, their saying "biosolids"
is something different from sludge, when in fact "biosolids" is a hokey
euphemism made up by the nice-sounding "Water Environment Federation"
(aided by the big PR firm, Powell Tate), to make sludge "sound" better in
order to shove it down the throats of the American public.  And, on DES's
May 15 "COMPLAINT FORM" which cites Jane Wingate as the complainer, they
use the super-euphemism "compost" - suggesting that toxic sludge is nothing
more than kitchen vegetable scraps and dead leaves stewing away in the back
yard.  To read how the euphemism "biosolids" came into general usage, see
"The Sludge Hits the Fan,", from John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton's book
"TOXIC SLUDGE IS GOOD FOR YOU,  Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations
Industry."  The CEO has a copy of that essay.

It should be noted that I was not the only one who complained about Barron
Bros's landspreading of sludge.  On May 20, 2003, Janet Kalar, a near
neighbor to Barron Bros's Watson Corner Road site, wrote to the town's
administrator, Ernie Creveling, to point out that on May 15 she called the
CEO to alert him that Barron Bros was landspreading sludge on the Watson
Corner Road site, and that she could smell it. Janet Kalar also spoke with
DES who told her that if the town has an ordinance in place, the matter
becomes the town's business.  Why was Janet Kalar not mentioned in Mike
Rainey's June 4 packet as another  who "complained."  In fact, I never
actually filed a "complaint" with DES, knowing that the matter was one that
concerned only our town, and that once it was re-established with certainty
that the stuff Barron Bros was spreading was indeed sludge, I knew the
matter ought to have remained with our CEO.  The state had no business
messing in the matter, except to verify the 1997 delivery to the site.

A measure of effort, time, and bureacratic nonsense went into the CEO's
attempts to "deal" with the issue, when in fact, the issue is
straightforward:  Farmington's sludge ordinance forbids the stockpiling and
landspreading of sludge, period.  It is true that Barron Bros had already
stockpiled the sludge in 1997, and it is true that the stockpiling was, in
effect, grandfathered in.  But in landspreading the stuff, Barron Bros is
in violation of our ordinance.  If in 2000 (and again in 2002, after the
Planning Board slipped up and didn't get the sludge ordinance on the books
after the first vote), this town, by an overwhelming majority ballot vote,
considered the landspreading of sludge a bad thing to do, it certainly
would not consider it all right to spread sludge in 2003.

As the May 15 email from the CEO to DES shows, the CEO loaded his questions
for DES in such a way as to elicit irrelevant responses about sludge that
sits for a while, and his fifth question reveals that he labors under the
notion that "biosolids" is somehow different or better than "sludge."  And
then, as if "biosolids" is now what we are talking about, he asks if
"biosolids" needs a permit to be stockpiled and spread.  But all the
monkeying with euphemisms doesn't obscure the one essential point:  no
matter what Barron Bros did or claims to have done to that pile of sludge
on the Watson Corner Road, it is still sludge, and it was landspread.

We look forward to hearing what the Selectmen and the CEO intend to do
about this violation of our sludge ordinance.

Thank you.


[signed by Jane Wingate
           John Wingate]
wingate@worldpath.net


Attached:

Correspondence between Farmington's CEO and DES (attached to Chairman Joan
Funk's copy only; town can provide copies for all selectmen) RE: Barron
Bros 2003 landspreading of sludge

TITLE LXIV, Planning and Zoning, Section 676:14

Farmington's sludge ordinance