December 19, 2012

Town approves city compost plant permit

Town allows city operation,if needed, with conditions


Sludge from the city’s wastewater treatment plant would be treated with alkaline materials to raise the pH and temperature to kill sufficient pathogens to allow the finished product to be used as a soil additive.

The city first applied for a town permit in March. The Planning Board found that application incomplete in May and, after additional information was provided by the city, again in July.

The application was deemed finally complete by the Planning Board at its August meeting.

That led to a public hearing on the permit in October. The town didn’t receive any written or verbal comments on the permit at that time.


The new permit from the town comes with a lengthy list of more than 20 conditions. That includes alkaline treatment as the only treatment process allowed. 

The limit is for 40 wet tons per day/280 tons per week, and only sludge from the city and Town of Peru plants will be accepted. The plant previously treated much larger amounts, which included sludge from locations well out of this area, so the city had little control over the material to be processed.

The concern will always be what happens if the operation does cause a problem, Bassett said. The stricter limits on quantity and source should help prevent that, he said.


The permit requires requires formation of a Citizens Advisory Committee to determine whether any odor complaints are legitimate. The committee will have three members who live in the town and three who live in the city.

The city is required to establish a 24-hour odor-complaint hotline and provide a odor-complaint form to be delivered to the Planning Department and Advisory Board.

An alarm system to signal if the exhaust fan at the plant shuts down is also required. The plant must cease operation if that occurs.

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