Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Synagro announces it plans to operate Plainfield Township / Wind Gap / Pen Argyl biosolids sludge plant 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Hidey ho, neighbor - Pull up a chair and let's talk about shit

Tonight at the Plainfield Township Fire Hall Synagro hosted what was advertised as a "Q & A session".  Attendence was moderate but not overwhelming.  Synagro provided a panel of what apparently was at least half made up of employees, including project manager Jim Hecht.  There was one paid consultant.  In the audience were two representatives of Waste Management, including John Hambrose.  Carlton Snyder and Robert Cornman Jr of Green Knight were in attendance. Questions had to be submitted on index cards, avoiding what would have been a zoo. To Synagro's credit, most of the questions that were submitted appeared to be at least read out loud. Some answers were non-responsive.

This blogger was honestly not interested or concerned with hearing about the science of crap.  We know it smells, we know there will be fifty 20+ ton trucks a day arriving at and departing this facility, adding to the already overburdened Wind Gap and Pen Argyl corridor, and we know there is a hell of a lot of readily available farmland to spread it on. The intent of the panel seemed to be primarily to talk about the science of crap, so this blogger had to wait for the good stuff that was in between the lengthy orations about how shit is so great, the distinction between shit in the garden versus shit in the crapper, etc etc

A few highlights:
  • Synagro plans to operate 24/7 and process 400 tons of crap a day
  • Synagro plans one product only - Granulite.  Representative Hecht said this is primarily a "wholesale product".
  • There is a contract in place for Green Knight to receive payment from Synagro for waste energy, but neither Mr. Hecht or Mr. Snyder could say how much this crappy operation would benefit Green Knight per month ($$$) and in turn possibly local citizens if Green Knight chooses to pass some green on to benefit the community.
  • One question was how can Green Knight call itself a non profit, when in 2015 it had $3.8m in the bank, had revenues of over $1.8m, and distributed a paltry $20,000 to the community.   Excellent question and neither Mr. Snyder or Mr. Cornman stepped forward to answer it.  This blogger found out from The Foundation Center, a well known database of non profits, that they do not list Green Knight Economic Development Corporation in their "grant maker" database because they do not believe GKEDC's level of grant making is consistent with its net income. GKEDC is listed in the online free version of Foundation Center, but not the Professional version. Basically they list it as a non-profit, but do not believe it deserves to be one is what a representative stated after the technical team investigated the listing discrepancy.
  • Synagro is pursuing both its original Site Plan for the CI district, currently tabled, as well as its new site plan submitted March 31, 2017 to see which one "sticks" (this blogger's term).
  • Synagro claims it will not produce odors greater than those already present in the area.  Think about this folks - if this plant goes in, complaints about odors will result in Synagro and Waste Management pointing fingers at each other.  And..after the land fill closes,  Synagro will no longer have WM to hide behind.
  • There is a an agreement in place for Waste Management to return use of the Plainfield Township Recreational Trail to the township after the land fill closes - and the trail will be used by Synagro's trucks in the latest site plan filed.  Mr. Hecht said he is unaware of this agreement, but that "Synagro will not cease use of its plant after the landfill closes."  (Synagro will shift to natural gas for heat after the land fill stops producing the gas that the energy center turns into electricity and heat).
  • Jim Hecht reported that Synagro was approached by either Waste Management or Green Knight to pursue this project about 1.5 years ago, but he could not remember which.
  • Mr. Snyder's recollection after the meeting is that Waste Management brought the project to Green Knight after Synagro was already involved.
  • Mr. Hecht could not name one organization, such as the Chamber of Commerce, that supports this proposed plant.  He garnered several catcalls from the audience when he added that Synangro has been busy on its plans and not reaching out to the community.  You just could not make this shit up, people.
  • A few panel members insisted on not only answering a question that was asked, but droning on for minutes afterwards about why this project is good in theory - totally unrelated to the question asked.  They spoke as though they live in a bubble, totally unaware that community members have minds of their own and uniformly are in opposition to this project.


Snyagro is known to give Granulite away for free to whomever will take it.  With the tremendous amount of farmland in the area, think of the incentive for farmers to use a free fertilizer instead of paying for one.  How can Synagro afford to do this?  They get paid up front $85 to $120 a ton to haul this crap away as class B biosolids.  Getting paid for your raw product - not bad, eh?  Granulite could be coming to the farm next to your house soon.  Back er up!

Mr. Hambrose and Mr. Snyder entertained questions from audience members following the meeting, and this blogger observed that they both feel this project is the best thing since sliced bread, and are unphased (ie tone deaf) by the unified objections of the community, and total lack of support.

There most certainly is an agreement between Grand Central (Waste Management) to return use of land Synagro plans to drive trucks over, and which Plainfield Township owns, to the township when the land fill closes.  This will be a wrinkle since Mr. Hecht implied Synagro plans for the proposed plant to remain in operation for many years after the land fill closes:

Easement Agreement- Plainfield Township Recreation Trail- Grand Central-03.11.1997 by Dick on Scribd

Synagro's new Site Plan

We'll take a close look at the Site Plan later, and for now it will simply be posted without comment.  It is currently in the pipeline to be reviewed by the Zoning Officer and Township Engineer in preparation for the May 15 Planning Commission meeting.

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