DENTON, MD - The Caroline County commissioners have enacted another 60-day moratorium on dissolved air flotation (DAF) tank storage, marking the second 60-day moratorium since December. Discussion was proposed for a potential third moratorium during the Feb. 6 commissioner meeting.
The decision comes as the current 60-day window of the existing moratorium is nearing its end, prompting officials to seek additional time to address concerns regarding the storage of DAF tanks, which are utilized for storing animal by-products for use as soil nutrients.
Residents have expressed apprehension over the storage of these tanks, citing worries about potential leaks and health risks associated with the transport and odor of the by-products.
"…it's being shipped in here and stored above ground in open containers; we don't know if it's leaking or running over at times when it rains so it's very concerning," said Ridgely resident Nancy Thomas.
"Just the transport and the smell and the potential health risks that we're not even sure of, um, the long term effect," added Bridgetown resident Megan Campbell.
Vice President Commissioner Larry Porter emphasized that while the state, the MD Department of Agriculture (MDA) and the MD Department of the Environment (MDE), oversee the application of future DAF tanks and the process of placing the product into the ground, the county requires time to work out its jurisdiction over storage regulations.
"The storage of this material is kind of up in the air, and that's why we are implementing these moratoriums to give us a chance to do it on a local level," Porter stated, "We will certainly put - I think restrictions in it as far as proximity to municipalities-schools, parks. So, it's going to be a tight fit."
However, local residents contend that DAF tanks have no place in Caroline County.
"I love my backyard, I love my neighbors, I love farmers, this is not the same. We are not against fertilizers, we are not against manure. Bring on the manure, you know. But keep this stuff out of my backyard," expressed Ridgely resident Vicki Granat.
"We're not against the farmers… but we're not 'pro' this product being shipped into our county when we have no idea what's in it or where it's coming from and how it's being stored," echoed Thomas.
The latest moratorium, which was passed today, will be effective until April 17th. Another proposed moratorium, if passed, will conclude on November 1st. During the meeting, three additional temporary moratoriums were proposed, including storage regulations for biosolids, vegetable processing, and livestock manure pits, all potentially set to end by Nov. 1.