Large Industrial Sludge Land-application Permit in Six Virginia Counties Approved by SWCB in December 2014

At its quarterly meeting on December 11, 2014, the Virginia State Water Control Board (SWCB) approved the permit application by Synagro, LLC (headquartered in Baltimore, Md.; online at to land-apply residual solid materials from industrial wastewater treatment to about 16,042 acres of farmland in Goochland, King & Queen, King William, New Kent, Prince George, and Surry counties.

According to the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s 12/11/14 article on the SWCB’s decision, the material is to come from the Tyson Foods poultry-processing plant in Hanover County, the RockTenn Company paper mill at West Point in King William County, and the Smithfield Foods hog-processing plant in Isle of Wight County.

The permit application was controversial in the affected counties and underwent an extended public-comment process, including three public-comment periods held by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) (Dec. 2013-Jan. 2014; Mar.-Apr. 2014; and Sep.-Nov. 2014) and three SWCB/DEQ public hearings (two in April 2014 and one in October 2014).

When available, minutes of the Dec. 11, 2014, SWCB meeting will be posted at the Virginia Regulatory Town Hall notice for the meeting, online at

State panel approves the spreading of industrial sludge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12/11/14.
Delegate addresses DEQ regarding sludge application, The Mechanicsville Local, 9/17/14.  [Letter from Del. Christopher K. Peace, R-97, to Robert Dunn, chairman, Virginia State Water Control Board, and David K. Paylor, director, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, requesting that no permit be issued until new state regulations were issued.]
Hanover Board of Supervisors sends letter opposing sludge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/16/14.  [Letter asked for a delay in Synagro permit until DEQ issues regulations on industrial sludge.]
The Virginia DEQ failed to provide notification to local counties about industrial sludge, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9/9/14.
Industrial sludge application pulled [in Hanover County; one of 7 counties originally involved], Richmond Times-Dispatch, 8/27/14.
Sludge: Risk Or Resource?, Water Online, 8/27/14.
New Kent supervisors vote to send letter opposing DEQ permit for Synagro, New Kent-Charles City Chronicle, 8/12/14.

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