Back in November 2019, Tully Environmental gave a presentation about a Bio Solid Composting facility project, for property owned by Syracuse Sand and Gravel, LLC/Richard Riccelli on Route 89. The proposed facility would consist of 2 buildings with an in ground 4000 gallon concrete tank. A mobile misting system will also be in place to help with odor reduction. The Board requested that Tully Environmental return again to a regular board meeting to answer further questions. The board also requested in writing the full details of this project to include the time line and contact numbers. Supervisor Spickerman also informed Tully Environmental at that time that there will have to be a public hearing.
During the Butler Town Board meeting on Monday, February 10th, Tully Environmental returned and gave another presentation about the Bio Solid Composting facility project. A special usage permit application was submitted for the proper review. It was later determined that a long form of the permit is required and that will be forthcoming. Many residents asked questions and voiced concerns for the proposed project, from the long term effects on the soil, the safety of the water in the area, road usage/ repair and many others.
Tully Environmental representatives tried to answer all questions and concerns. It was explained by the Town Board that this project will have to meet strict DEC requirements and is still in the preliminary stages. Tully Environmental stated that they will return again next month and try to address additional concerns.
Town Councilman Duane VanGelder responded after the meeting that, in general, residents should have a right to do what they want with their own property, within the law. They can sell to whom they want and allow work on their property. In this case, everything that the owner has done so far, posting site plan development and obtaining any permits and approvals, is what they are required to do. VanGelder felt that as long as the SEQR (State Environmental Quality Review and DEC rules are followed, they (the owners of the Gravel Pit) are free to do what they wish with their property.
VanGelder continued: “As for the complaint of smells...even I am surrounded by farms and swails. We are in an open rural area, and we expect these things.”
Supervisor David Spickerman stated, “We are following the law and making the owner file all necessary permits. Other than that, we are not judging,” he stated.
Tom Mettler, Superintendent for Waste Water in Village of Wolcott, went to Facebook to discuss the project. Part of his statement claimed: “Doing some research, I have learned about biosolid and sewage sludge. The sludge is human and animal feces, industrial chemicals, medical wastes, oil products, pesticides etc. Curing sewage does not remove toxins. Pathogens, chemicals, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, poisons, and toxins settle into the sludge. The product of all this is sold as fertilizer to farmers and gardeners and can be labelled as organic. It ruins farmland, people’s health etc. The odor from this composting is carried possibly miles from 89. “
Mr. Mettler encouraged residents to attend the Butler Town board meeting on Monday to learn more and ask questions. A follow up to Mr. Mettler’s comments on Facebook were met with this statement from a Bryan Whipple: “There is no mention of the class of biosolid? If it is a class A there would be no trace amounts of pathogens, which are the organisms capable of causing diseases. There are many class A biosolids composting plants in NYS. Other states and counties use this method with great success. Funny no one mentions the straight untreated cow feces that is land spread on Wadsworth and Clapper Roads every year and is all over the road?”
Following Monday’s Town Board meeting, Tully will be filing permits and site plans. Then those plans will go to the County Planning Board for their review. DEC will investigate. Then the board will have a public hearing, and eventually a vote.
“Nothing is a done deal yet,” said Spickerman.