By GAIL OBER, LACONIA DAILY SUN
GILMANTON — A local farmer who received two deliveries of Class B biosolids last month and who found himself on the receiving end of a letter of complaint sent by his neighbors to the Department of Environmental Services fixed the problem with a wood ash covering so quickly the state couldn't issue a letter of deficiency.
Robert McWhinnie of Hayshaker Farms said his two deliveries from Resource Management Inc. of Holderness were in a "gray area" because about half of the sludge is wood ash and the company had only sprinkled a small additional amount of additional wood ash on top of the piles.
McWhinnie said RMI returned almost immediately and added some additional wood ash.
"They took care of the issue so soon that we couldn't issue a letter of deficiency but had to issue a letter of past violation," said Michael Rainey of the Wastewater Engineering Bureau of the DES.
"This was a relatively minor infraction," Rainey continued, adding that fines are reserved for the most egregious violators that happen repeatedly and that Hayshaker Farm was not one of them.
The complaint was filed by Leonard Swanson who is McWhinnie's neighbor and who has been a long-time advocate of banning all biosolids or sludge use in Gilmanton.
Swanson is not alone in his objection to the use of biosolids, or "sludge," in the mainly rural community. For the 2016 annual Town Meeting, 36 local residents who said they were sick of the smell of biosolids filed a petitioned warrant article to ban its use in Gilmanton.
Aside from the smell, chief among their complaints are that biosolids are irradiated human waste and that spreading biosolids on fields for fertilizer isn't environmentally or physically safe.
Depending on who is asked, the science is presented with multiple conclusions.
Twice, residents have submitted petitioned warrant articles to eliminate biosolids use and twice the articles have failed. At this point in time, it is not known if there will be a third attempt to ban them at the 2017 annual Town Meeting.
McWhinnie said his neighbors are entitled to their own opinions but wishes that some people wouldn't just stand up at Town Meetings and use scare tactics to get support for a ban.
There will be a meeting hosted by Resource Management Inc. and the Department of Environmental Services about biosolids tonight from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Old Town Hall in the Gilmanton Iron Works.
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