Marilla Town Board votes to extend biowaste moratorium

MARILLA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Pews were packed at Marilla Town Hall Thursday night as one after another, neighbors voiced concerns about a plan for Quasar to store biowaste on a local farmer’s property.

One resident said, “If anything were to happen to that tank where it leaks, it’s going go right down into the creek, it’s going to go into little Buffalo Creek and into the Buffalo River and going to wind up in the lake. And when you’ve got over 500,000 gallons in that tank, that’s going to do a lot of damage.”

The board voted unanimously to extend a six-month moratorium on the storage and spreading of biowaste anywhere in the town. Town Supervisor Earl Gingerich believes this will buy some time to create a new set of rules regarding biowaste.

“We’re not opposed to the concept. There’s nothing wrong with the concept to recycle waste. But we’re opposed to some of the ingredients in this waste,” Gingerich said. “At this point we believe there are items in there that are legitimate fertilizer, but there are other items in there that turns it into a toxic waste.”

Neighbors have formed the ‘Citizen Sludge Committee’ to explore what this so-called biowaste actually is. Joe Barbarits is one of seven members elected to serve on the committee.

“We’ve consulted people that are versed in the topic, other scientists, and we’ve done a lot of research ourselves,” he said.

The board is also considering reaching out to state lawmakers for future regulation on the acceptable contents of spreadable biowaste.

Gingerich said, “We are doing what we can to make it difficult for Quasar. Again, we are not against the concept Quasar is advocating, we’re against what’s in it.”

The town and a group of neighbors are each considering on filing a lawsuit against the Department of Environmental Conservation. They believe the permit process was flawed and there was not enough investigation done prior to issuing Quasar’s permit.

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