UPPER MOUNT BETHEL TWP., Pa. - So much for skirting around a sludge problem in Northampton County.
The possibility of using human waste as fertilizer is now back on the table in Upper Mount Bethel Township.
Last night, township supervisors decided to abandon a deal that would pay farmers not to spread bio-solids.
Many felt it would cost the township more than the $60,000 they anticipated.
Residents say they are still upset after a heated Upper Mount Bethel Township meeting.
In January, township supervisors thought they had a way to stop bio-solids, also know as sludge, from being spread across three farms owner by resident Ron Angle.
But the Upper Mt. Bethel township solicitor, Ronold Karasek, says after researching the compromise, he decided it wouldn't work.
"It was determined that it would be too difficult to do," said Karasek,
"I haven't broke any laws, you guys haven't broke any laws," Ron Angle told the crowd. "I've exercised my constitutional right to spread sludge. It's permitted by DEP at this moment they are spreading it in Forks Township."
The vote means Angle will be allowed to use bio-solids, a product that contains human waste, on his land.
A citizens group, Sludge Free U-M-B-T, has filed an appeal to the state to stop the process, but the group also wanted a township bill of rights, similar to the one passed in Tamaqua in 2006.
Supervisors decided not to pass the bill of rights because of the way it is written.
"You will pass that ordinance, someone will challenge it." added Karasek. "It hasn't been challenged in Tamaqua to my understanding. So the fact that Tamaqua has been able to do it does mean anything."
Township supervisors did agree to meet with the group and work on a new bill of rights, but until then, it is legal for sludge to be spread.
"I wish the state would change the law but I have no power to do that," added one supervisor at the meeting Monday night.
Ron Angle says he will spread the safer Class-A bio-solid near the border of his and neighboring properties and then Class-B in the middle of the fields.
Allentown, PA 18102