In this Update:
Scavello to Introduce Tougher Standards for “Sewage Sludge”
This week I circulated a Senate co-sponsorship memorandum requesting support for legislation I will introduce to further regulate the land application of sewage sludge across the Commonwealth. You can review the exact text of the co-sponsorship memo below. If you would like to track the status of the legislation following its introduction, you can do so here.
Memorandum: Land Application of Sewage Sludge
In the near future I intend to introduce legislation amending Title 27 (Environmental Resources), providing for further environmental protections over the land application of biosolids, otherwise known as “sewage sludge.”
While this is a common practice and means of disposal across the Commonwealth, application of treated human waste to farmlands has caused significant environmental, health and community concerns throughout Northeast Pennsylvania. Due to the region’s close proximity to New York and New Jersey – and its accessible location from major metropolitan areas, including Philadelphia – the Poconos and Lehigh Valley have become a dumping ground for a high volume of sewage sludge.
Despite significant steps taken to preserve our exceptional value waterways and sensitive environmental features, the Commonwealth’s standards over the land application of sludge are considerably weaker than many other surrounding states. For example, throughout Pennsylvania, sludge is commonly land-applied on farmland with steep topography. This heightens concerns that even a moderate rainfall will simply wash contaminated waste material downhill and jeopardize nearby residential neighborhoods, drinking wells and exceptional value waterways.
Landowners who spread sewage sludge are not subject to buffer requirements from adjoining properties and are only required to uphold minimal buffers from nearby buildings or waterways.
In response to these concerns, my legislation will create stronger buffer standards and protections that mirror existing best practices of other states. This legislation will establish safer distances from drinking wells, surface water and groundwater; property line boundaries; sinkholes; and occupied and unoccupied dwellings. In addition, the proposed legislation decreases the maximum allowable slope where sludge can be land-applied.
As we continue to evaluate the safety and health of treated sludge material, this legislation is a necessary first step towards ensuring our environment and communities are protected.
Where to get a Free Child Car Seat Check
Through June 2, the Pennsylvania State Police are conducting free child car seat fitting stations to ensure proper fitting and provide information on safe use.
It’s part of the “Click It or Ticket” seat belt safety campaign now underway. You can find the nearest location here.
Monday is National Rescue Dog Day
More than three million dogs enter U.S. shelters every year, and each waits to be rescued into a loving home.
National Rescue Dog Day is a reminder of the need for pet adoptions and the great joy rescue dogs can bring to a household. There are several animal shelters in Monroe and Northampton counties that can connect you with a dog in need.
Recognizing the Contributions of EMS Responders
May 19-25 is National Emergency Medical Services Week, a time to recognize paramedics, emergency medical technicians, firefighters and other first responders who every day deliver lifesaving medical care to those in need.
They bear the burden of witnessing traumatic events, and they’re a vital part of our health care system. Thank for your hard work and cool heads during trying times.
When it’s Time to Hire a Mover
May marks the start of the busiest household moving season. The PA Public Utility Commission has tips for hiring a licensed mover, including your rights and responsibilities, how to file a complaint, and more.
One tip: check delivered items for missing or damaged goods prior to signing the delivery receipt. You can find more information here.
In Case You Missed It: School Property Tax Elimination Update
I recently provided a thorough update on the number one issue in our region: school property tax elimination. You can read it here.
Around the 40th District
This past week we celebrated two grand openings in the 40th Senate District. Soulful Journeys Massage & Yoga Studio had their official ribbon cutting in Nazareth Borough, where they offer a variety of holistic health and wellness services/opportunities for area residents. We also joined community members and the Pocono Chamber of Commerce for the grand opening of Traditional Home Health Care in East Stroudsburg. Their team of medical professionals and caregivers provide a variety of services to enable individuals to get the care they need in the comfort of home.
I joined the PA Department of Labor & Industry’s Deputy Secretary of Workforce Development Eileen Cipriani on a visit to Monroe County Career & Technical Institute. We discussed the needs of the school directly, as well as exciting opportunities within the skilled trades for our future workforce. I commend the Deputy Secretary for visiting career and technical schools around the Commonwealth, including MCTI. These are jobs that will not be shipped overseas and will stay in our communities. I am pleased to see the Deputy Secretary’s focus aligns with my efforts to establish all-day career and technical education across the 40th Senate District.
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