Synagro Technologies, a Baltimore-based waste management company, faces grass-roots opposition to its application to spread industrial waste as fertilizer over farms in seven Virginia counties.
As a result of the backlash — coming in the form of letters, phone calls and emails — the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality has delayed signing off on Synagro's plans.
Industrial sludge is what remains after a business breaks down leftovers from processing products ranging from poultry to paper. Depending on its source, the sludge can be pulpy, mudlike and oozing, or resemble normal dark soil.
The sludge is typically rich in nitrogen, which can spur crop growth,...