Chair Gooch, members of the Committee, I appreciate this opportunity to briefly speak on SB 213 and Senator Higdon’s efforts to bring together the parties on this issue and to find a workable process for agency review and decisions on requests for approval to land apply municipal sewage sludges.
Kentucky’s existing regulations predate the adoption by EPA of the 40 CFR Part 503 regulations, which are self-implementing federal regulations that wastewater treatment facilities are obliged to follow.
SB 213 does not require that we blanketly adopt those federal minimum standards as our maximum, but rather preserves the flexibility that is needed for the Cabinet to assure that land application of sewage sludges doesn’t result in contamination of cropland from pollutants in the sludges that have no agronomic use or value, to the detriment of the landowner, or off-site water pollution from over-application or application near streams and karst features that results in environmental or health problems and liabilities. It also allows us to consider how to address and mitigate risks to landowners and cities from land-spreading municipal sewage sludges contaminated with persistent chemicals such as PFAs.
The last thing that anyone wants is to weaken standards and processes to a point where today’s land application becomes tomorrow’s headache and liability for the landowner due to the presence in the sludge of industrial chemicals and pollutants that may be bound with the organic sludge. We will all, I know, work diligently, and hopefully in consultation with our universities and experts familiar with our diverse hydrogeology and soils, and with the fate and transport of pollutants in the environment, to create a framework for timely, predictable, and responsible permitting for land application of municipal sewage sludges.
I look forward to working with the other stakeholders and appreciate your consideration of the bill, and the hard work of its sponsor.
Prepared by TomFitzGerald, Of Counsel for Kentucky Resources Council