Marilla leaders divided over toxic sludge debate

MARILLA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A controversy over a toxic sludge is bogging down a western New York town.

A week ago, residents were outraged at the halting of progress on a law which would outlaw storing and spreading a toxic sludge called equate. The sludge is a sewage byproduct, and it is produced by a company called Quasar.

The company has a Department of Environmental Conservation permit to allow one Marilla farmer to spread the sewage on his field. Thursday the Town Board met to vote on the law to ban the substance, but decided not to even vote on a law. A moratorium preventing the use of the sludge ends in April.

One Marilla leader says he thinks the Town Board is influenced by the farmer, who happens to be the Zoning Board chairman and the Conservative Party chairman who endorsed each to be on the board.

“Due to their own interest and relationship with Stanley Travis, who the town has a lawsuit against, I’m of the belief that their decisions have been calculated and tainted,” Earl Gingerich, Marilla Town supervisor, said. “It is inappropriate and unethical to have any type of contact with a person or representatives that the town has a lawsuit against.”

Gingerich is calling on the entire Town Board to resign from their posts. He says the handling of the situation has been botched.

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