September 22, 2008
My name is Bill Cox; my wife and I have lived on Bowser Rd in Shrewsbury Township, PA for over 15 years. We moved here to provide a safe and healthy home in which to raise a family. We are both from rural communities; and enjoy the benefits of country living. We garden and landscape, hunt and fish, and spend much of our day and evenings outdoors. While we're not farmers, we appreciate our local farms and their continued success is very important to us.
Our house was built in 1975 and has never been air conditioned. It's a beautiful property with woods, ample wildlife, and several springs that provide cool clean water to a stream that runs through it. Our children (now 11 and 13) have lived happy and healthy here, enjoying the stream, woods, and natural beauty of our home.
Our happiness was derailed in the Spring/Summer of 2007 when our property was enveloped by an UNBEARABLE odor and thousands of flies. Sludge had been spread in enormous quantity on the farm that lies to the east, south, and west of our property. We had no warning, no opportunity to defend against this CHEMICAL and BIOLOGICAL ATTACK. PA DEP requires a letter to be sent only to neighbors within 150 feet of the sludge fields!!! My home is about 200 yards away, so no letter was necessary.This problem was not for a day or two- it persisted for MONTHS! We had to buy air conditioners so we could close our windows and try to hold the stench at bay. It was a lost cause; the stench penetrated our new double-pane windows and new insulated doors. Indoors, we could DISTINCTLY smell this stench when we approached within 5 feet of any closed window or door! Our clothes and furniture retained the odor. The children wretched when they tried to play outdoors. Our pets became ill. Our apples, cherries and berries absorbed the stench and were ruined. Whenever we walked out of the house, we were mobbed by hundreds of flies. Yard work and gardening were miserable on "good" days and impossible on bad days. We cancelled every social engagement we were to host. We became prisoners in our own home.
A siding contractor walked off of our job when he and his assistant both became ill while working on our house. During rainfall, the runoff from the untilled sludged fields would cascade into the stream. Soon a thick layer of slime covered the rocks in the stream. My little stream is a Chesapeake Bay tributary! Why bother trying to "Save The Bay"? EPA and PA DEP are certainly causing the Chesapeake's continued demise. My kids don't play in their own stream now. Winter weather and damage control by SINAGRO (they sent sludge with "less odor") eventually helped moderate the stench, but that did not address the real problems of TOXINS and ILLNESS!
In January, 2008, the farmer was spreading sludge in high winds, and within four days, my entire family was ill; all with respiratory ailments, two of us treated for pneumonia! The spreading of sewage sludge is NOT an agricultural activity. This is the dumping of TOXIC WASTE. The farmer gets paid to spread this filth on his land- the more he spreads, the more he gets paid. This is not manure, this is POISON! Don't allow giant corporations and municipalities to run roughshod across Rural America. We are sparsely populated and at a disadvantage in having less political voice. We need your help- OUR LIVES DEPEND ON IT!!!
Respectfully Submitted, William E. Cox and Family September 22, 2008