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Residents attend Town of Butler meeting to oppose proposed sludge composting center

Patrick Moussignac
Updated: March 10, 2020 11:46 AM
Created: March 09, 2020 06:47 PM

BUTLER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Monday night's Town of Butler board meeting was filled with residents voicing their opposition to taking in sewer sludge from New York City.

The proposed composting facility site is on Route 89 in Butler.

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Representatives from New York City-based Tully Environmental presented their proposal to the town board requesting a permit to build a composting center that's expected to be around 250,000 square feet.

Right now, the site is a gravel pit.

If approved, it would take in municipal waste trucked in from the city.

As we've reported in the past, Butler Town Supervisor David Spikerman said so far the process of considering a permit for the project has just started.

As part of the proposal for the facility, the sludge will be mixed with materials such as wood chips and turned into fertilizer.

The toxic liquid is expected to be drained and disposed of in other locations.

Tom Mettler, who lives in Butler, tried to stop the meeting by invoking the open meeting law. 

Before the meeting he said, "If they choose to proceed I’m going to hand them that law, and then if they choose to proceed it could be nullified in court, and it probably will be. So it is illegal if they can't get everybody in there seated."

He was unsuccessful in his attempt.

Once the meeting started Board Members gave representatives from Tully another chance to explain what benefits their company would bring to the area, but neighbors still put up a fierce opposition telling Tully they are simply not welcome in the community.

Almost every seat inside the meeting room was taken as residents heard from one of Tully's presentation. Kristina Mastrangelo-Gasowski says Tully has provided no real operational information leaving everyone asking questions.

"Throughout the mitigation process, they're going to have to do a lot of digging in and providing us with facts and information that we can fact check, and say what is the reality of what we'll be facing if this facility goes into place," Mastrangelo-Gasowski said.

Residents say the untreated sludge poses a threat not only to their health but their livelihood as well. Most of the community is built around farming. An accidental leak of toxins is a fear for everyone.

"My animals will be compromised. I won't be able to use them,” Justin Smith said. "I raise meat goats. If the toxins get into the soil my operation is done. I won't be able to sell them for human consumption."

Each and every resident who spoke at the meeting begged their town board members to block this proposal which they say no one supports.

"I think we proved our point with a lot of good questions, the integrity of these companies,” Kim King said. "We just don't need it here. There's other places where it can go."

News10NBC tried to get a comment from Tully representatives, but they said company policy prevented them from making any comments.


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