[USCC] Problem composter tries to get in business again -Hinkley Calif
maureen.reilly at sympatico.ca
Sat May 20 19:05:27 CDT 2006
Dear Fellow Composter fans:
As you will see, I am very concerned about the proposed 'Nursery Products'
sludge comosting site that is proposed in the Mohave Desert near Hinkley
California. Some of you may think I am overstating the problems...but look
at my next two posts and you will see that the issues are real.
I'll explain the concerns in more detail if you ask me to clarify.
The clock is ticking..you have less than 30 days.
Nursery Products (Jeff Meberg) is trying to locate their massive sludge
'compost' site to a Mohave Desert community just 8 miles west of Hinkley
California. Remember the contaminated drinking water (chromium 6) ? Erin
Brokovich? Yup..thats the place.
Here is the Notice of Preparation of an Enivronmental Impact Report (EIR)
for this gigantic sludge site and the other required EIR preparation notices
and maps. They are all available at:
This is the same facility operator that was court ordered shut by a judge
in Adelanto for public health protection. The Environmental Health
Department didn't say a peep to the dismay of the 125 outraged
complaintants from local residents...many of whom were complaining on behalf
of hundreds of pupils in a school or dozens of employees.
Yes, the Environmental Health Department has a telephone hotline to which it
directs complainants. Then it can say it didn't respond because there 'were
no written complaints'. Cute, huh? Caifornia Integrated Waste Mangement
Board (CIWMB) staff explained to me (with bored impatience) that no matter
how many phone calls of vomitting, illness, nausea, hospitalization were
received by the Lead Environmental Agency (Dan Avera and Jacqueline Adams)
... if the complaints were not in writing they didn't count as complaints.
So any investigation of the failure of the Env Health Dept to investigate
public health complaints cannot procede on the basis of telephone complaints
to the Environmentl Hotline staffed by Env Health Dept staff. (You liking
Essentially public complaints were directed to a dead end...an unenforceable
empty phone call to an office that collected and compiled complaints and
failed to act on them.
Now the hand of the same Env Health Dept is evident in this proposal...a
proposal 10 times bigger than the Nursery Products sludge mess in Adelanto.
In the last proposal Dan Avera created an equation that one yard of sludge
weighs a ton, one yard of finished compost weighs a ton. But that isn't
true. A yard of sludge weighs about two tons. Ah...but this slight of hand
would have allowed the facility to receive twice the amount of sludge that
it was permitted to take...because the limits were set out in yards!
The slight of hand is perfected in this proposal...it says that the facility
will take a daily maximum of 2,000 tons of sludge and greenwaste. Um...wet
ton or dry ton...? doesn't say. So it is either 2,000 wet tons or about
8,000 wet tons (if they mean a daily max of 2,000 dry ton equivents)
How is the public supposed to know what might be permitted to arrive at the
facility if it is not spelled out what the proposed tonnage will be? And HOW
much sludge and HOW much green waste? What is the ratio? What kind of
greenwaste? Meberg swore on a stack of bibles that the fly invasion on his
sludge piles came from grass clippings (uh huh..he said that)..so is he
allowing grass clippings this time?
And why is the site being used as a transfer station for used oil ?
And where are the truck washing stations...you can't take a sludged-up truck
with sludge underbelly, wheel wells and tires out on the road without
washing it down. Where will the sludged wash waste from the trucks go?
Even a cursory look at this thing is a nightmare. How did CIWMB let an
incomplete, misleading document like this out into public view?
Look, even the reporter who wrote the story below thinks Jeff Meberg is
bringing sludge compost to the site...instead of bringing sewage sludge
(Class B and worse) and attempting to compost it at this site.
And where is the description of this so-called composting process? The
process that Meberg has been using doesn't meet the minumum requriements of
the 503 legislation. He doesn't turn the windrows adequately to meet the
He said in previous applications that a little sprinkle of actinomycetes
(sometimes described as simply finished turkey compost) was a magic
proprietary ammendment that obviates the obligation to meet the 503
requirements. But if this is his secret sauce then he better take it into
the EPA Pathogen Equivalency Committee for evaluation.
Pixie dust is no alternative to proper composting techniques. If you care
about desert ecology, if you care about compost, if you care about public
health...you need to review this proposal with an eagle eye. This sludger
is about as bad as they get.
Make your comments in writing to Carrie Hyke - San Bernardino Advance
Carrie Hyke at 909-387-4147 chyke at lusd.sbcounty.gov
Saturday, May 20, 2006
Hinkley responds to compost company plans
Nursery Products, rebuffed by Adelanto and Newberry, looks to a new location
By GUS LAMBERT / Staff Writer
HINKLEY Residents were put on notice a new environmental processing
facility may be coming to town.
The Hinkley School hosted more than 20 residents and county officials in the
first of several meetings scheduled to review the compost disposal proposal
applied for by Nursery Products LLC.
Some residents objected to the facility.
Were tired of being used as lab rats, said resident John Coffey, in
reference to the past Pacific Gas and Electric chromium-6 contamination of
area groundwater that inspired the movie Erin Brockovich.
This area is just starting to recover from that nightmare, said resident
Residents at the meeting expressed concerns about traffic, flies and other
vermin, health hazard considerations, odors, wind and waterbor ne pollutants
including dust, road wear conditions, concer ns about existing wildlife
especially the desert tortoise - and other items.
Williams also noted that people are just starting to move back into the
region because the land has become desirable to those seeking escape from
the rapid g rowth in Barstow.
Nursery Products, a biosolid and sewage sludge disposal company, has
acquired land 160 acres eight miles west of Hinkley near the
intersection of Badger and Beaver roads.
But, before they can begin dumping treated compost consisting of biosolids
and green waste, Nursery Products must obtain a zoning change and other
permits from the San Bernardino County Land Use and Services Department.
The land is currently zoned for conservation use, said Car rie Hyke, a
county land use supervisor. But it can be redesignated for institutional
use, she added.
Hyke said the meeting with residents was the first in a process that
provides the public with four opportunities for submission of comments and
concerns regarding the land use change proposal.
She said the impact review looks at 14 different issues and includes several
opportunities for public comment at different stages.
Hyke distributed informational packets that included maps of the site,
related information and a form letter for comments.
She said concerned citizens have 30 days to submit comments during this
preliminary stage of the process.
John P. Larson, a consultant with the fir m hired by the county to
independently assess the impact of the possible operations, told the crowd
all of their concerns were reasonable and valid.
There were some new things mentioned that made the trip here worthwhile,
he said and added that all issues and concer ns will be addressed in his
The next period for public participation will be sometime in August or
September if the review process stays on track, Hyke said. At that time the
public will have 45 days to submit additional comments and another open
meeting will be held during that time.
Hyke said that the board will have more infor mation available at this time
because many preliminary impact studies will be completed.
Information about the project is available on the countys Web site at
More information about the Compost