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Guzik Motors

'Sludge' nixed in favor of paper at landfill


May 24, 2011
CHARLTON — After having significant doubts about using "sludge" to help grow grass on the landfill, the Board of Health was relieved to have contractor J. Bates & Sons propose something far more palatable — paper.

To be more accurate, both proposals used short, damp shredded paper and leaf fibers, but the new version lacks the small quantity of sewer-plant compost the first one contained, according to Bates' John Smith. Board members were leery of the slight danger the first type's 2-percent-sludge mixture might contain pathogens that could contaminate nearby wetlands or wells.

"This is 100-percent short-paper fiber coming from a different mill," he said, noting he expects to receive the first loads this week. "… Farmers use it if they're building soil."

Laura Bugay, an engineer from Camp Dresser McKee, the town's project overseer, said they still have to do some testing to get the best mixture of paper, sand and fertilizer to promote the kind of growth they want to stabilize the landfill's slopes. Normally, she said, they aim to mix "short-rooted, deep-rooted and drought tolerant species" to ensure it stays green throughout the summer and thus reduces the risk of erosion.

"That's why we specify such a weird blend," she said. "The landfill contractors all yell at us for it," but it's designed for landfill cover use.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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