NEWS STAFF REPORTER
It’s been several weeks since lawmakers in West Seneca unanimously approved a six-month moratorium that applies to anaerobic digestion facilities and related issues.
Town Attorney Charles Grieco has suggested that it’s time for them to talk about what they hope to accomplish during that period. He raised the subject during a Town Board work session Monday afternoon.
The moratorium, adopted May 12, applies to new construction or expansion of existing anaerobic digestion facilities. There’s just one in town, opened by Quasar Energy Group earlier this year.
The plant on North America Drive, and an identical facility in the Niagara County Town of Wheatfield, process organic wastes – including food byproducts and treated municipal sewage – to create energy-producing bio-gas and a fertilizer that the company calls “equate.”
Community outcry – particularly in Niagara County and in the Erie County Town of Marilla – has arisen over proposals for storing and applying the fertilizer to farmers’ fields.
Though the West Seneca plant was proposed and built without opposition, town officials say they want to look at existing codes to determine whether there are appropriate standards and controls for the siting and regulation of facilities that process and dispose of sludge, sewage sludge and septage.
Councilman Eugene P. Hart said the town is looking at banning the application of equate on farmers’ fields, as well as new construction and storage facilities. But the composition of the group that will do that apparently hasn’t been determined.
“If we don’t have it done in six months, we can renew the moratorium,” said Grieco, the town attorney.
Meanwhile, the Wheatfield Town Board enacted a moratorium in late April to block construction of a storage tank and is moving toward banning future use of equate in the town. Town officials voted Monday to join their state representatives in asking the state Department of Environmental Conservation to revoke permits already issued for its application.