Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 13, 2014

Wheatfield Town board considers equate ban

Niagara Gazette — WHEATFIELD — The town board held a public hearing on the hot-button issue of banning human bio-solids as farm fertilizer Monday, though as has been the case throughout the debate, town residents in attendance were united in opposition to the practice.

At the center of the controversy is Quasar Energy's plan to produce and sell equate, a fertilizer made from human waste, to town farmers. Residents have raised numerous questions about the public health and sanitation effects and while Quasar representatives have maintained their product is safe, town leaders, spurred by vocal opposition from residents, appear poised to ban the substance, perhaps as soon as their next meeting June 2.

Monday's public hearing is a required step before passing any local law.

The draft of the law unveiled Monday proposes to “ban the processing, recycling, storage and field application of human bio-solids within the Town of Wheatfield.” 

Several residents agreed this is an issue that needs to be addressed locally, as well as on the state and national levels.

One resident, John Cunningham, brought to the board’s attention a World Health Organization report that claims a polio-like virus has been found in children in California. He says that this virus has also been found in other countries and is passed from fecal matter to food and then to people.

“This is not just a Wheatfield problem,” he said. “We in Wheatfield have to be the first to say we not only don’t want it here, but we don’t want food grown using bio-solids anywhere in the world, we need to ban bio-solid foods from even coming into community, once it's in the sewer system it’s out of control. This is an actual world emergency now.”

Other residents took a more practical approach. By performing a simple science experiment to demonstrate what plants pick up from their environment, Monica Daigler, a former Tonawanda High School biology teacher, put a stalk of celery into a beaker of water containing red food coloring.

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