Sludge permit withdrawn for site in Milam

The Post Oak Savannah Groundwater Conservation District (POSGCD) says tons of what it termed “toxic sludge” will not end up in Milam County, after an Arkansas company’s application for a state disposal permit was withdrawn.

According to a POSGCD news release, its board opposed the application to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) by a biosolids management company for a permit to annually dispose of up to 7,000 tons of sludge at a side near Gause.

In a March 16 letter to the TCEQ, Barney Knight, POSGCD’s general counsel, noted “very material concerns” about possible contamination of the Calvert Bluff Aquifer which is within the boundaries and jurisdiction of POSGCD.

The water district said Knight’s letter raised questions about the possible disposal of sludge containing “pathogens, heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, and other toxic waste” over the outcrop of the aquifer.

The letter, which noted that thousands of square miles throughout Texas do not overlie aquifers, followed an analysis by POSGCD’s hydrologist, INTERA, and a unanimous vote by the POSGCD board to oppose the application and proposed permit.

“The district has from its inception recognized that our goal is to ensure the aquifers remain a viable resource for all future generations. With that in mind, we were compelled to urge the TCEQ to deny the wastewater and sludge permit application for this possible disposal site. We are pleased that the application has been withdrawn,” Gary Westbrook, general manager, said.

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