A Harford County legislator is calling for a review of the practice of allowing companies to spread treated sludge from wastewater treatment plants on state-owned parkland.
Del. Barry Glassman said he plans to introduce a measure in next year's General Assembly session to establish a task force that would look at leases between the Department of Natural Resources and haulers.
"We want to ... review the entire lease process," said Glassman, a Republican who represents District 35A. "The final recommendation could lead to a change in the policy or discontinue it."
The initiative comes after complaints by residents over sludge spreading at Susquehanna State Park near Havre de Grace. In June, Synagro Technologies Inc. began spreading the material on parts of an 80-acre parcel it leases from the state. Resident opposition increased when the company requested a permit for a second parcel in the park.
The permit signatory in both cases is Jason Krankowski, a Synagro employee who said he planned to farm the acreage. Krankowski, director of technical services for the company, withdrew the request for the second permit, noting complaints by residents.
The unusual arrangement raised concern on the part of Glassman and residents. In cases in other parts of Maryland, parkland is leased by farmers who then contract with sludge haulers. Glassman said he intends to propose a second bill that bans leasing state land to a hauler.
Applying sludge as fertilizer on farm fields is a common practice. Farmers value the material because of its nutrient content and because it improves aeration and reduces erosion.