Bachmans Valley Flies Now, Farm Composting Later?
I was intrigued to learn this past week about the fly infestation problem now manifesting itself in the Bachmans Valley area which may emanate from nearby egg production agri-businesses and their attendant dead animal composting operations. This unfortunate plague on the Bachmans Valley residents and businesses may prove to be an informational warning for other communities in Carroll County since county government is now considering an amendment in its zoning ordinance which would permit the composting of public yard waste on private farms throughout the county.
At first glance, this amendment appears admirable as the county struggles to extend the life span of its landfill and provide an ailing farm economy with an additional avenue for profit.
However, the Bachmans Valley situation points out the problem with this type of operation. Issues of solid waste and sanitation are one instance where government has to take control of the situation to assure that they are handled efficiently and in the best interest of the public at large. Successful composting is a science requiring volumes of compostable material. The methods used, locations, fermenting, the type materials composted and the final product must be closely regulated to assure a sanitary and salable end product from a facility which will not offend its neighbors via noise, odor, vermin, or worse still, toxins.
A quick, political remedy which appeals to a select voter block would be a tragic mistake to impose on the rest of Carroll's communities. While allowing public composting on farms may appear an enterprising area of alternative agriculture, the expense involved in producing a marketable, serviceable end product may preclude all but the wealthiest or most desperate ag operators.
A successful composting program requires sizable volumes of compostables, considerable remote acreage, specialized equipment, trained operators, storm water management and treatment and daily processing of the compost -- all of which points to a county-owned facility or facilities, operated by either the county or a quasi-public waste authority.
Composting certainly has a niche in the reduction of Carroll's waste stream but private composting needs considerable study and tight regulatory controls on the product and process. The old days of private landfilling within Carroll provide too many examples of the abuses that come with unsupervised waste disposal. Sanitation is an arena in which the public has every right to expect government to govern, thereby protecting the public's health and well-being. Private composting needs considerable study and tight regulatory controls on the product and process. In the Bachmans Valley situation, both county government and the state Health Department must take an active role in immediate correction of the problem and insure that it does not reoccur there or elsewhere in the county.
This latest rush by government to create free enterprise smacks of politics for a select few; not governing which considers the needs of all citizens. If allowed to pass, this simple amendment to the zoning ordinance may generate a few votes on Election Day but will leave a lot more irate citizens to cope with the stench. . . .
eil M. Ridgely
The writer is a candidate for Carroll County commissioner.
Recently, Rape Crisis Intervention Services of Carroll County, Inc. held a celebrity autograph auction to raise funds for services provided by the agency. The clients, staff and Board of Trustees would like to thank our three corporate sponsors who made the planning and eventual success of this event possible.
We thank Carroll County Bank & Trust for its generous donation. James Wise and Thomas Ferguson's efforts helped with the advance costs that projects like this entail. Jerry Zakes and The Sun for Carroll County provided wonderful advance publicity with on-going advertising of our auction. Dwight Dingle and WTTR Radio's on-air promotion was widely heard and the ticket giveaways were much appreciated.
The auction was very successful, netting more than $5,000. This will be used to continue our service programs to survivors of sexual assault who come to RCIS after a catastrophic event in their lives or after years of repressing horrible memories. They are able to reach a hot-line volunteer, participate in group or individual counseling and share their feelings, fear and concerns with others who understand. Other programs reach out to educate the community to prevent future crime. Programs in schools, churches, for law enforcement, hospitals and others provide a way to get out the message that "no means no." . . .
Sherri L. Hughes
The writer is president of the board of trustees of the Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County.