Sunday, April 8, 2018

Conflict of interest plagues Pen Argyl's consultant choice to fight Synagro/Waste Management/Green Knight biosolids plant in Plainfield Township

At the April 4 Plainfield Township planning commission review of Synagro's proposed crap bakery on land owned by Waste Management, in association with Waste Management's purported non-profit arm Green Knight Economic Development Corporation, appeared representatives for Pen Argyl in opposition to the project.  This included Solicitor Peter Layman of Bangor, and environmental consultant Trudy Johnston, President of Material Matters Inc in Elizabethtown.

Peter Layman and Trudy Johnston, representing the Borough of Pen Argyl
in opposition to the proposed Synagro biosolids plant

Some in the audience took note when a representative for Synagro and Waste Management suggested that Ms. Johnston is acquainted with Synagro's planned use.  It turns out that Ms. Johnston is intimately familiar - her company's website states its specialty:
Material Matters offers a range of services relating to all aspects of wastewater solids and residuals beneficial use, including product management, process optimization, demonstration trials and research studies, regulatory permitting, and regulation compliance. 
Hmm.  Let's look deeper to see if this funny smell gets worse.  In a September 3, 2010 Times News article, it is reported that Johnston and fellow employee Jennifer Callahan requested to appear at a Schuylkill County board of supervisors meeting and
distributed literature which presented a highly favorable perspective regarding the use of biosolids when, in fact, the use of such sludge is seen as controversial and a potential threat to health and safety.
Highly favorable perspective from Ms. Johnston on the use of biosolids?  This smells like crap alright.  Here is another odorous sample:

.

At time stamp 00:10 in the video above on the Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association's YouTube channel the speaker indicates Johnston is the president of MABA's board of directors, and the video is dated July 19, 2017.  Wow, the president of this as well as her company - she's the belle of the Brown Stink Ball.  Take note of her enthusiastic manner as she speaks to the shift in public perception of shit through a change of terminology from "sludge" to "biosolids".   Trudy gets shit done, but it seems like she may be enamored with it.  Here is the 2016 Form 990-EZ that MABA files as a non-profit, dedicated to the dissemination of sludge.  Look on page 2, and you will see that in the list of officers Ms. Johnston is at the top of the heap - the president:

Mid Atlantic Biosolids 2016 Form 990EZ on Scribd


Then there is this promotion of the whimsically named Slate Belt Heat Recovery Center, from President Johnston's MABA's website (emphasis added):

Jesus H Christ this looks bad, to use an expression of my father's.  Now let's put it all together, using the sponsor brag from the Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association website, with a suggested future entry:

Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Association Sponsors for 2018 includes Johnston's Material Matters, Waste Management, and Synagro - Add Green Knight and you have four of a kind!

Green Knight may be the next sponsor to add to this rarified list.  After all, Green Knight for the past five years has had plentiful income but almost eliminated donations to social service organizations - contrary to Green Knight's mission statement.  Yes, they gifted the Blue Mountain Library $10,000 in emergency funds recently, but in the past they would spread over $100,000 in one year to 25 to 30 causes, at $3000 to $4000 each.  They could easily come up with $5000 to give MABA, which they would likely consider a good cause.  Now they appear to be focused on commercial development, and handing opportunities to their own board members to cash in on GK's "philanthropy".  A non-profit tracking agency determined that Green Knight Economic Development Corporation does not meet its criteria as a charitable organization after reviewing GKEDC's IRS Form 900 statements and does not list it in their database, according to a reply to an inquiry as to its absence.  More on Green Knight in a future post.

Holy shit Batman!  What the hell is going on here?  Johnston's entire agenda is to make shit smell better, and spread it as far and wide as possible.  She rubs elbows with Synagro and Waste Management, on the short list of sponsors of the organization of which she is president.  This is who is helping protect Pen Argyl from having a biosolids facility move in next door?

Mr. Layman was the Plainfield Township Solicitor in 1997 when the Trail Agreement/Easement was negotiated with Waste Management.  This agreement turns out to be very weak, in that the end date of Waste Management's use - which was the justification for the agreement - is not directly tied to the landfill shutting down.  Mr. Layman may not appreciate his name being associated with it, but facts are facts.  If the agreement had been drafted properly, Synagro's plant on the proposed site would not even be a possibility, and Plainfield's residents would not be fighting for the right to use their own property as the agreement calls for - in a timely manner, not several decades from now.

Pen Argyl council members may want to reconsider this arrangement.  Johnston should paying Pen Argyl - one can imagine however she is collecting a consultant's fee.  Sweet.  Johnston may be out having lunch with the opposing parties, and there is no code of conduct that regulates such a consultant's disclosures.  Hey guys, I'll buy today.  WTF.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Waste Management continues to bully Plainfield Township into granting approval for Synagro crap bakery while Green Knight Energy Center operates in violation of approved development plan

At tonight's Plainfield Township Planning Commission review of Waste Management's land development application, the latest in a 1-1/2 year long string of bids to locate a crap bakery in the township, the Applicant's attorney Elizabeth Witmer will be in an interesting position.  Witmer is a land use specialist, and at the November 2017 review of Synagro's site plan she stated emphatically that the Applicant intended to file a Land Development application that would comply with the township ordinance and "not require any variances".  The township Zoning Office determined that at least four variances are needed, including a use variance because this use must be located along an arterial or major collector road.

In a post earlier this date, it was reported that Waste Management and Robert Cornman Jr (Green Knight representative and former Plainfield Township planning commission member and chairman) knew full well in November 2016 that a biosolids use was provided for in the SW solid waste district and not permitted in the CI commercial industrial district, due to a highly publicized failure in 1999 to obtain a variance to locate its own energy center in the same location, yet they still pursued leasing this location to Synagro.  That's called bad faith - were they hoping the township "wouldn't notice"?  (Suggested answer: YES)

A few members of the planning commission quizzed Witmer on this point, because no Applicant files a land development plan unless all zoning issues have been resolved.  Witmer stressed that no variances will be required.  In short, it is a waste of time and resources to review how a development will satisfy storm water management when (for example) there is no way to get vehicles on and off the site.  This is exactly the situation at hand.  The Land Development Plan does not comply with the ordinance as Witmer pledged.

Purpose of tonight's review meeting - does anyone know?
In previous letters and oration at reviews of this proposal, Synagro's legal beagle Matthew Goodrich has stated that in no uncertain terms Synagro expected a zoning permit, deserved a zoning permit, and that the township has to issue a zoning permit.  This despite the township reminding him on multiple occasions that Synagro ain't getting no permit until requirements are met - which includes variances and regulatory approval.
One might fairly ask what the purpose of tonight's meeting is, since as of 11am today no Zoning Hearing Board application for variances associated with this plan have been received by Plainfield Township. Use variances are granted in about 10% of cases, so if road access is not resolved, this project is not happening.  Synagro and Waste Management will want to talk about how they recently filed for DEP and NPDES permit, but who the hell GAFF when they can't drive to and from the site?

In the narrative accompanying Synagro's October 2017 site plan submission, Synagro stated that approvals were granted the Green Knight Energy Center in 1999 and a 2001 revision, and Witmer emphasized during the November review that Synagro intends to rely on those approvals.  The only problem with this plan is her statement is incorrect - there is no approved 2001 revision.
False statement that the 1999 Green Knight Energy Center land development plan was amended in 2001 - the 2001 plan's conditional requirements were never met by Green Knight Energy Center and a conditional approval expired in 2002. 

The narrative in the February 2018 Land Development plan submission curiously deletes the reference to the 2001 revision:
Waste Management's Feb 2018 narrative no longer boasts about as lengthy a list of approvals, or mentions the driveway (wonder why...)

Contents of the recorded 1999 plan and its 2001 defunct proposed revision
The 1999 approved and recorded Energy Center plan states that access to the site will be via Pen Argyl Road, a major collector. Since access was to the east along Pen Argyl Road, the front yard was chosen there.  This is important, since it allowed a lesser side yard setback along the township trail, and did not force the proposed access drive into the existing quarry.  Note 12 specifically states that access will be via Pen Argyl Road, yet when the Energy Center was built, access was created across Plainfield Township's trail onto GCSL's private haul road - in violation of the recorded plan.  Note that in reality, the 1999 plan depicts an access drive that actually "tees" at the private haul road and does not extend across it to Pen Argyl Road.  How the hell did Mr. Robert Cornman Jr's planning commission ever even approve this plan?  Note 4 indicates that a PENNDOT highway occupancy permit is required for access to Pen Argyl Road - was this ever obtained, was it denied due to limited site distance, etc and is this why "as-built" was different?

1999 Recorded and official Land Development Plan for Green Knight Energy Center

Green Knight came back to the township in 2000 and proposed a revised plan, with access now to be "as built".  Plainfield Township was concerned that now it was proposed to use the Township Trail, and the Township Solicitor recommended the trail easement agreement be modified with this use in mind, in addition to other conditions for approval.  None other than Robert Cornman Jr, in his role as Green Knight representative, signed off on April 11, 2001 on an agreed list of conditions which must be met within one year in order for this revised plan to be approved (at bottom of this post).  This never occurred - whoopsie - breakdown of communication with himself?  In the proposed revision, note that now the Access Drive in the 1999 plan is now labelled "Alternate Access Drive", the text in 1999's Note 12 is retained, and in Note 11 we see that the "approved" access location will be retained "if the trail agreement expires".  In such an event, the access drive to Pen Argyl Road that was approved in 1999 would be built.
Proposed & defunct 2001 revision of Land Development Plan for Green Knight Energy Center

Synagro, Waste Management and Green Knight are all up Shit Creek without a paddle.
  • Green Knight Energy Center is operating in violation of its approved Land Development Plan - a legally binding document
  • The 2001 revision is scrap since it was never signed, expired and was never recorded.
  • Green Knight Energy Center traffic is travelling across Plainfield Township land, not provided for and in violation of the 1997 trial easement agreement
  • Note 11 of the proposed revised plan acknowledges that the trail agreement may expire (eg when the landfill closes) and at said time access via Pen Argyl Road would be uses to access the Energy Center.  This would cover, for example, the 2 to 3 year period during which the last gas from the landfill is converted to electricity.
This evening's meeting should be a real hoot.  It will be interesting to see if Ms. Witmer takes the same position she did in November - everything is fine, our plan is in compliance, Waste Management and Synagro are here for recommended approval tonight - anything less is unacceptable.  Whatever... you're being paid handsomely, say whatever floats your boat.

Conditional approval for 2001 LD plan signed by Robert Cornman, Jr on behalf of Green Knight



Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Plainfield Township ex-planner has history of ignoring zoning ordinance to grease skids for Waste Management/Green Knight Economic Development Corporation

On Wednesday April 4, 2018 at 7pm the Plainfield Township Planning Commission will meet to review the Land Development Plan to locate a Synagro biosolids crap bakery on land owned by Waste Management.  In the room, as he has been for every meeting thus far, will be Green Knight vice chairman and Synagro crap bakery project representative Robert Cornman Jr, who is also an ex-Planning Commission member and  its long time chairman.

When Synagro first slithered silently into Plainfield Township in November 2016 with its proposal, Cornman was still a Planning Commission member.  Despite stating he was recusing himself, he participated in discussion and suggested multiple times at the November 2016 review of Synagro's proposal that it be given conditional approval that evening to locate on a parcel in the Commercial Industrial (CI) zoning district.  It was subsequently discovered that Synagro's use was not even a permitted in the location proposed, and therefore it would require a use variance.  Without any hardship, it would be impossible to obtain a use variance.
November 2016 Synagro Site Plan, with proposed plant location in gray area
north of haul road in CI zoning district (North is to right side of screen)
Planner Robert Cornman Jr suggested this site plan be granted conditional approval

Planning Commissions are responsible per the Municipalities Planning Code for maintaining and updating a municipality's zoning ordinance.  As the long time commission chairman, Mr. Cornman was uniquely positioned out of all township citizens as the single best authority on the township's zoning ordinance.  As it turns out, since July 1, 1988  Synagro's use was permitted in the Solid Waste District.  One should ask, is it possible that Mr. Cornman did not know this, and actually encouraged approving this use to be located in a district where it is not permitted.

Let's pause briefly to note that in 1988 an extensive Solid Waste addendum to the township's comprehensive plan was adopted, to plan for responsible and strategically located solid waste uses.  Immediately, Zoning Ordinance amendment 192 was adopted, which provided for six (6) uses by right in the Solid Waste district, including a material separation facility (Synagro's use) and a landfill gas to energy plant (Green Knight Energy Center).  This list of uses has not changed nor where they are permitted since 1988.

As it turns out, both Mr. Cornman and Waste Management were very much aware in November 2016 that a use related to Solid Waste could not be located on the site in question, because 17 years earlier Mr. Cornman, while he was Planning Commission Chairman, attempted unsuccessfully to shepherd on behalf of Waste Management another Solid Waste use into the same precise location!

In 1999, Waste Management applied for a use variance to locate the Green Knight landfill gas to energy plant in the CI zoning district.  Here is a site plan that was submitted with the application:
1999 proposed location of Green Knight Energy Center, in CI zoning district in exact same location as 2016 proposed Synagro plant - same shit different year.  Planning Commission chairman Robert Cornman Jr testified at the ZHB hearing on the alleged economic benefit while ignoring the fact the was no hardship to justify a variance - which was his responsibility to know.


Planning Commission under Chairman Robert Cornman Jr recommends Waste Management be granted a use variance, despite there being no hardship

Several objectors testified at the zoning board hearing for the variance.  Pen Argyl was represented by attorney John Molnar, who showed that the proposal was counter to the 1988 comprehensive plan, as well as the zoning ordinance, and that extensive cost and effort had recently been put into updating both documents to accommodate Solid Waste uses.  Yet Robert Cornman Jr totally ignored both the spirit and letter of the zoning ordinance that as a planning commission member and chairman he was obligated to uphold for all land owners of the township.

Planning Commission chairman Robert Cornman Jr puts the good word in for
Waste Management - recommending approval to place the energy center outside the Solid Waste district, in total disregard of the Ordinance and a clear conflict of interest.
Ever hear of a designated hitter batting for both teams?

The Zoning Hearing Board did the right thing - they went through the five criteria for a variance, and found that Waste Management had no hardship whatsoever.  "Benefit to the community" is not a hardship.


Zoning Hearing Board facts and findings in case of Waste Managment's attempt to violate Plainfield Township's zoning ordinance - with Robert Corman Jr's blessing.  The ZHB was not swayed.

The township supervisors did the right thing by kicking Mr. Robert Cornman Jr to the curb, and he should never be reappointed to the planning commission.  Ethics requires a municipal official to put aside their own desires and outside special interests, and promote uniform and unbiased adherence to local laws and regulations.  There is a rumor that he submitted a letter of interest to be appointed back onto the commission in Jan 2018 - the size of those balls are impressive indeed.

Footnote: the five criteria enumerated above in the Facts Findings of the 1999 variance are the same criteria which would have to be met by Waste Management/Synagro in order to be granted the variances that are needed for the Synagro plant to be approved.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Synagro and Waste Management proposal in deep sh!t at Plainfield Township crap bakery site

On February 23, 2018, Synagro (under the veil of Grand Central Sanitary Landfill) filed its latest proposal to site a crap bakery on Waste Management's land adjacent to the Green Knight Energy Center.  Virtually all of the surrounding communities supervisory bodies are opposed to this project, and Plainfield Township is strongly opposed, yet Synagro persists - with Waste Management's blessing.  Why doesn't Waste Management tell Synagro "We care about the community, so take your shit elsewhere"?  The answer must be that Waste Management values $$$ a lot more than being a good neighbor in the community.  Sad.

In the past few weeks, three reviews of the proposal have been filed:
  • Zoning Office review
  • Township engineer review
  • Environmental consultant review
In the township review letter are strong zoning and legal reasons this project will not be able to be sited where proposed.

As a bookkeeping matter, it was learned on March 13 that Synagro has applied for the following permits:
  • NPDES Stormwater/site discharge
  • DEP Solid Waste
  • DEP Air Quality
Apparently, it was the township being notified of these permit applications that caused the March planing commission review meeting to be postponed to April 4, or it was a huge coincidence that both occurred on March 13 - two days prior to the scheduled meeting date.

 Synagro's DEP permits are in motion - like a bowel movement.  They are in the cart...

If Synagro can not meet the zoning, it will not mean diddly squat that they applied for permits through regulatory agencies.  As we shall see, they put the cart before the horse in this process and may have their asses handed to them.  You don't file a land development application before obtaining any needed variances, but in each review Synagro has steadfastly denied it needs variances although the township found that they do.  Now they are forging ahead, attempting to bully their way into the hearts, noses and water supply of area residents. "Hey look, we applied for regulatory agency permits!"  Impressive, but,you don't have legal road access to your site.  Let's take a look at the current reviews to see where the proverbial shit has hit the fan.

First, here are two site plan sheets and truck movements that are pertinent to the reviews:
 Site plan sheet C03
Site plan sheet C17 
Truck turns sheet C03

Next, here is the recorded 1999 Land Development Plan for the Green Knight Energy Center or LGFTE Plant - a document critical to the success or defeat of this application:
1999 GKEC recorded land development plan showing access via Pen Argyl Road
But instead it was built across the township trail.  Uh oh! Lucy got splainin to do, Lucy!

Here is the Plainfield Township Zoning Office's review:



As you read through, here are some highlights of what the Zoning Office found:

  1. The portions of the overall 12 acre lot dedicated to Synagro (5 acre min) and Green Knight Energy Center (3 acre min) must be delineated.(the entire 12 acres is incorrectly labelled "Synagro Operations" on the site plan - there are two uses on the lot, permitted in this district) 
  2. Internal access roads must be shown, instead of assuming trucks will randomly be driving through parking areas.
  3. Variance #1 The site is not on a collector or arterial road as required 
  4. Variance #2 The proposed improvements will be within 50' of a pond, not permitted.
  5. A study should be done on the current, cumulative and future effects of adverse impacts of activities associated with the proposed use (the PA Environmental Rights Act, passed decades ago, was just recently interpreted and upheld up by the PA Supreme Court in a fracking case)
  6. An analysis must be done to show that no odors will leave the site (how does one do this with an active landfill running?)
  7. The capacity of the raw shit storage area in tons must be specified.
  8. Grand Central's haul road is within the 80' ultimate right of way of Pen Argyl Road (a major issue if Pen Argyl Road is widened)
  9. Pedestrian access within the site is across access drives - what could go wrong?
  10. Variance #3 The parking area aisle width is 24' instead of 25'.  Really?  They couldn't find one measly foot?
  11. Variance #4 The parking places should be paved and marked as required in the ordinance.
  12. Truck turns are in conflict with each other.  In the truck turns diagram, trucks on the west (left) side of the energy center travelling in opposite directions can not pass each other.  This may require another Variance to Sec 704 (F) of the ordinance, which states that loading/unloading areas should not create a nuisance.  This issue and others was also highlighted by the township engineer, who had several comments about truck traffic and turns at Page 5 Items A6 (below).
There are two significant variances here, #1 and #2.  #3 and #4 seem trivial in comparison;

Now the doo doo really hits the fan - Green Knight Energy Center is in violation of its approved Land Development Plan, showing access from Pen Argyl Road which was never created

Scroll up and take a look at the recorded Land Development Plan for the Green Knight Evergy Center.  This is a legally binding document.  Look how carefully an access drive was to be constructed out to an entrance from a road, Pen Argyl Road, which is classified as a Major Collector.  Look at the red underlined text in Note 12, which states that access to the Energy Center will be from Pen Arygl Road  The Plainfield Township Recreational Trail was entirely avoided, even though a few years prior an agreement between the township and Waste Management allowed Waste Management to use the Recreational Trail in this area as a haul road for the landfill.  The access from Ren Argyl Road was never constructed, and instead access was created by blowing a road across the Recreational Trail on the west end of the Energy Center.  Talk about a bait and switch!  

Digression - Mr. Robert Cornman Jr. was on Green Knight and also the chairman of the Planning Commission which reviewed the 1999 Land Development Plan.  He also attempted to shepherd the Energy Center into a lot across Route 512 where it is not a permitted use - it was at that time and still is permitted only in the Solid Waste zoning district.  You would think he would remember that when Synagro came along and tried to pull a similar stunt 17 years later in November 2016, with his blessing. - he had the gall to both recuse himself AND suggest Synagro's plan should receive preliminary approval for a site not in the Solid Waste zoning district.  This man as Planning Commission chairman was in a position for many years where he was supposed to review and revise township zoning.  He has since been removed and should never be appointed again.  You don't turn your back on local laws that you are supposed to enforce for your own benefit.

In 2001, Green Knight applied to revise its Land Development Plan, but the revised plan never obtained final approval and thus was not recorded.  As part of that process, it was recommended that an agreement be created whereby Green Knight would relocate its driveway to where it is today using access across the trail, with the Township's approval and foresight into what would happen when the landfill closes.  Other conditions were to have been met, agreed to by none other than Mr. Robert Cornman Jr (see his signature in Exhibit A attached to the Zoning Office review above).  Since land development plans with conditional approval expire after one year, the 1999 Green Knight plan on file is the only one valid.  Green Knight is in violation of its plan, since vehicles accessing it are driving across Plainfield Township's land and not from Pen Argyl Road.

If Green Knight Energy Center can't use the Recreational Trail, neither can Synagro

Similarly, Synagro can't piggy back on Green Knight's approval to cross the trail, because that plan is not valid and Synagro has no inherited right to something that does not exist.

The review on April 4 should be interesting.  Synagro/Wast Management's attorney will proclaim that they have filed for regulatory permits and act like everything is great and they should be granted preliminary approval.  Unfortunately, when needed variances have not been obtained your site plan has deficiencies so no approval can be recommended.  Note that Preliminary and Final Land Development approvals are voted on by the supervisory body - the Board of Supervisors.  The Planning Commission is advisory only.

Here are the other two reviews:


Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Synagro/Waste Management Land Development and Site Plan review meeting in Plainfield Township postponed


The review of Synagro's Land Development and site plan (in the name of Waste Management) has been postponed from Monday March 19 to Wednesday April 4, 2018 at 7pm in the Roper Auditorium of the Wind Gap Middle School.

This is likely due to a delay waiting for reviews by the Zoning Department and the Township Engineer.  A Land Development Plan is extensive.  This application was submitted only 3 weeks prior to the meeting, which gives little time to conduct and publish a review in order for all parties to see it prior to the review meeting.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Dedicated environmental steward Frank O'Donnell in community that defeated Nestle Waters passes away

Francis Z. O'Donnell Oct 14, 1936 - Jan 25, 2018

This blogger first visited an Eldred Township, PA Board of Supervisors meeting on December 2, 2015 to see firsthand how the community was progressing in its fight against would-be despot Nestle Waters.  Nestle had descended on Eldred Townshp in the dark of night, in hopes of wrestling the community's most precious natural resource (water) from it for the pittance of $30,000 per year.

As I settled into the back of the room, two apparent residents smiled in a welcoming manner.  This was surprising, because I had been warned that residents of this town received outsiders with some suspicion.  This stood to be even more true given that Nestle was seeking to victimize Eldred's citizens like a john takes advantages of whores.

These two citizens were Mr. Frank and Mrs. Marion O'Donnell.  Marion was more talkative than Frank, but the topic about to be discussed was obviously weighing on his mind.  It turns out that the seats that Frank and Marion occupied were their "usual" seats - they attended most board meetings.

I came to learn that Frank had been the Zoning Hearing Board chairman for many years, and also that he helped form and was the President of the Blue Mountain Preservation Association (BMPA) for many years.  The BMPA's initial goal was to fight a proposed race track on the Eldred Township side of the Blue Mountain - on land adjacent to the O'Donnell's property at Smith Gap.  As the fight against the race track progressed, efforts to enact zoning (finally!) in Eldred began, and also preservation of the 360 acre tract in question was envisioned.

Throughout the years, Frank's leadership and participation as well as Marion's constant support resulted not only in preservation of the tract, but increased awareness throughout the community of the importance of property rights for all landowners.  Eldred's zoning ordinance helped make possible the defeat of Nestle's plan in 2016, during which time Frank continued to serve as Zoning Hearing Board Chairman.

I was deeply saddened to learn that Frank (Francis) O'Donnell passed away January 25, 2018 at the age of 81.  It is dedicated individuals like Frank and Marion who are the backbone of a community - those that pick up the sword to fight the slow and steady good fight to preserve the quality of life residents value.  My condolences to Marion and Frank's family.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Synagro fined for sludge application violation in township opposed to Plainfield Township biosolids plant

Waste Management earned a Golden Turd award in February for the most recent application to locate a shit bakery in Plainfield Township. What was the name of that movie - "Same Shit Next Year"?  While previous applications were made by the operator Synagro, Waste Management is taking the dooky by the short hairs in a effort to obviate some legal hurdles and carry this turd over the finish line.

Oooh, that smell - can't you smell that smell?

It turns out the first Golden Turd of the year was prematurely awarded to Waste Management.- it should have been granted to Synagro. In one of several communities opposed to the Syangro plant (Pen Argyl, Wind Gap, Upper Mt Bethel Twp, Washington Twp, Lower Mt Bethel Twp and Plainfield Township) Synagro was found to have spread its shit on frozen ground on January 26 . This is a violation of Synagro's DEP biosolids application permit.

We're so responsible at Synagro that we spread shit on frozen ground

There's an old saying - don't shit where you plan to build a shit factory.  As of  March 9 the DEP website does not show it, but a reliable source reports there was a fine levied.