By Jim Hecht
I'm writing to set the record straight on the Slate Belt Heat Recovery Center project proposed for Plainfield Township by Synagro. I want to assure members of the community that we value their input and are committed to building a state-of-the-art facility that will operate in compliance, safely and responsibly in their community.
In the spirit of transparency, we will be offering public tours of our Philadelphia facility in March which will be advertised in local papers shortly.
Here are specific items I'd like to address to set the record straight:
- The proposed facility will be equipped with a ventilation and air filtration system that will prevent odors from being sensed outside our facility.
- All elements of the operation will be subject to rigorous environmental permitting.
- The science behind recycling biosolids is sound and proven safe by decades of studies. The product that will be produced by the plant is safer than manures and the dirt in people's backyards and more environmentally friendly than chemical fertilizers. The EPA's current review of the state-of-the-art science can be found at www.epa.gov/biosolids.
- The Slate Belt Heat Recovery Center's sustainable design requires the facility to be located near the Green Knight Energy Center to use the center's waste heat to dry, not burn, biosolids to create a high quality Class A granular pellet that can be used as fuel or fertilizer.
- Since the early 1980s, Synagro has worked with hundreds of municipalities and farmers across the nation to recycle nutrient-rich materials generated by society. We hold ourselves to the highest standards. We have an exemplary record of compliance. While that does not mean there are never any mistakes (unfortunately human beings are not perfect), it means that we put procedures in place to ensure the highest standards of compliance and immediately rectify non-compliance if it occurs.
- As for the 2007 Detroit newspaper allegations, immediately upon learning of a potential impropriety in Detroit, the company cooperated fully with the U.S. Attorney's Office and undertook aggressive measures to review all standards and policies relating to its business practices. Synagro was completely cleared of any wrongdoing by the U.S. Attorney's Office after fully cooperating with the authorities in the related Detroit investigation. James Rosendall was a business developer for Synagro, not its president as stated in the earlier letter, and he was fired by our company as soon as we became aware of the wrongdoing by a consultant to the company, Rayford Jackson. The situation was resolved to the satisfaction of the City of Detroit and Synagro continues to have a successful business relationship with Detroit.
- As for the "Scientists' Open Letter on the Dangers of Biosolids," the full body of scientists who have researched this topic don't agree with the authors of this paper. A rebuttal has been published which states that the authors have "unfairly demonized the practice of applying biosolids..."
- Bob Cornman's term on the Plainfield Township Planning Commission ended at the end of 2016 and he was not reappointed to the panel. He was not voted off the commission.
We appreciate our neighbors' interest in our community and respect the importance of providing factual information. However, we cannot allow the creation of information that is offered as fact to create alarm, prevent job creation and sully our good company, technology or operations.
For more information about our project visit our Facebook page or www.synagro.com/locations/sbhrc/.
Jim Hecht is a project developer for Synagro in Baltimore, Md.
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