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Apr 15 - Apr 23, 2014

IDA Chairman to Examine Record for  Quasar Misrepresentations;

By Frank Parlato

April 15, 2014

Niagara Country IDA chairman Henry Sloma is going to take a look at Quasar
Equate melts in your farm fields not in your hands.

The plan to spread human manure as fertilizer over farm fields in Niagara County, which received approval for $1.5 million in tax breaks from the Niagara County Industrial Development Agency (IDA), might be headed for a setback. 

The chairman of the IDA, Henry Sloma, told the Niagara Falls Reporter that he will examine whether the IDA was misled by the Quasar Energy Group, a Cleveland, Ohio-based human manure company, which could lead to rescinding tax breaks which were granted to the company in September of 2012. 

The IDA was initially informed that Quasar planned to construct a $4.1 million "renewable energy facility" in the Summit Business Park in the Town of Wheatfield. 

The tax breaks, which include a 15-year payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT), sales tax abatements, and mortgage recording tax abatement, were approved without anyone being told that Quasar planned to spread human manure across Niagara County. 

The plant was built, is operational and is processing and storing human waste. 

At the IDA meeting of August 6, 2012, Quasar representative Anthony Cieslak told IDA members that Quasar "will bring renewable energy to the community (and) clean organic fertilizer for local farmers." 

Cieslak did not mention that this "clean" fertilizer would consist of human manure nor that, once spread over a farm field, the land would no longer be usable to grow crops fit for human consumption. 

The IDA taxpayer subsidy of $1.5 million amounts to approximately 37 percent of the total project cost. 

Sloma told the Niagara Falls Reporter that, in light of questions raised, he will look into possible misrepresentation which may be lead to the IDA rescinding the entire PILOT agreement. 

"I know that the company [Quasar] is getting a lot of tension from the public and that brings out new facts," Sloma said, "so I am going to take a look at the record." 

Equate is spread during 50 to 60 days a year, and not when it is raining or crops are blooming. It is listed as a Class B fertilizer. It can only go on crops meant for (non human) animals.
Sloma said the IDA has never rescinded a tax incentive contract for misrepresentation. 

"I am not prepared to say we have one now," Sloma said, "I have to look at the record." 

Not only did Quasar fail to inform the IDA and the public that human manure was their product, but apparently misled the IDA's director of project development, Susan Langdon, who told the IDA board that Quasar's planned facility will produce fertilizer through the "anaerobic digestion" of "organic wastes such as food waste, fats, oils, greases, manure, crop waste and biosolids."

Langdon did not mention the word "human" as a descriptor for manure. Nor did she mention that fats, oil, greases and biosolids, along with the manure comes from sewer plants that pay Quasar to take away their sludge. 

What might have been told to the board and public, but was not mentioned, is that Quasar's three-fold business model revolves around human manure:  

1) Quasar gets paid to truck human waste from sewer plants that would otherwise pay to depose of it in a landfill; 

2) The waste is then taken to its (taxpayer subsidized) "energy facility" in Wheatfield. There, methane gas from the human excrement is converted to electricity and sold to National Grid, which, in turn, sells it to local customers at full retail price. 

3) The gas-free human manure is then stored in brown lagoons until it can be sold as fertilizer to farmers. This human manure is branded by the company as a product called "Equate."  

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) plans to "reduce landfill footprints" by accepting human excrement from counties downstate and spreading it on farms in Niagara County. 

The DEC has already issued permits to 10 corporate farms. 

This spreading of human manure over Niagara County is staunchly supported by a cadre of DEC bureaucrats who live in Albany, far from the reach of its unsavory odors. 

Last week, State Sen. George Maziarz and Assemblyman John Ceretto sent a letter to the DEC commissioner Joseph Martens asking him to rescind Quasar's permits to spread human manure on thousands of acres of Niagara County farms. 

Maziarz and Ceretto pointed out that Niagara County isn't the only place where Quasar has been trying to spread human manure or create brown lagoons and that Quasar is suspected to have misled local officials. 

In Pittsfield, Ohio, 43 property owners filed an appeal with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, alleging that a permit granted to build a human waste lagoon was granted under false pretenses. 

To hear Quasar tell it, their product, made from human manure from sewer sludge, is a clean organic product. Some disagree.
Equate is made from human manure.
After the brown lagoon was built and citizens were granted a dose of its pernicious smell, homeowners close to the lagoon saw their property's values plummet. Plans for outdoor activities stopped, while families and friends advised they would not come over to visit.  

"It was a 'death sentence,'" said one neighbor. "No more hanging clothes outdoors; no more gardening; always fearing the sludge pit upslope could break or overflow with millions of gallons of sewage ending up in backyards and basements. The horrid, unlivable stench that the company denies literally ruins people's lives. The stench invades your house internally, so closing a window does not help. The stench saturates your clothing and, yes, there are dust particles that cause disease and illness like E-coli infected skin lesions, E-coli related pneumonias, constant throat, eye and skin irritations." 

Meanwhile, Quasar advertises its product as "clean organic matter," never mentioning that that the "organic matter" is, in fact, human feces. 

"Equate - a natural fertilizer alternative containing valuable nutrients and organic matter," their advertising pamphlet states,"…[is] applied to farm fields (as) an ecofriendly alternative to traditional fertilizer options." 

Quasar also downplays the fact that their product, once spread over a farm, will create odor for miles. 

Equate is "a less odorous product," their pamphlet reads. 

"We're not making rose petals here," said Bruce Bailey, a vice president of technical affairs with Quasar, in a rare moment of Quasar candor, when discussing the odor. "But it is greatly reduced." 

If the lagoons ever break they can flood a town with Equate.
Also not mentioned is the fact that Equate contains sludge culled, not only from residential toilets, but from hospital, mortuary, and industrial toilets. Thus, it is permeated with drugs, hormones, human diseases, pathogens, heavy metals, antibiotics, birth control products and more. 

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, sewage sludge such as that used by Quasar contains "toxic contaminants with heavy metals, steroids and pharmaceuticals, including the antibacterials, triclocarban and triclosan…antibiotics, disinfectants, antimicrobials, steroids, endocrine disrupting chemicals and other anthropogenic drugs." 

Sen. Maziarz says he welcomes the idea that Niagara County IDA Chairman Sloma is looking into possible misrepresentations by Quasar. 

"If Quasar misled the IDA," Maziarz said, "then it should be explored carefully to determine whether the PILOT can be rescinded. I'm going to stay on top of this to protect the health and welfare of Niagara County residents."

The Town of Cambria rejected the company's plans to dig a 10-million-gallon lagoon on a Raymond Road farm last summer.
The picture is of destroyed Wetlands in Ohio. You can see the standing water around the lagoon. The water floods the adjoining properties when it rains
Quasar sells "organic fertilizer" never mentioning it is human manure.
The Quasar people should be called the creatures from the Brown Lagoons.
Critics say, even if equate is not dangerous, it will be a public relations nightmare. Once word gets out that Niagara County farmers fertilize with human manure, people, rightly or wrongly, will lose their appetite for produce grown here. Perhaps, we could look on the bright side. Our new slogan can be: Niagara County: "We sh-t where we eat."
Quasar does not use the word 'sewage', instead, they use the word 'fertil- izer' when speaking of the product they call "Equate".
The Equate hit the fan recently when Quasar submitted a plan to erect a 5-million-gallon storage tank behind their facility in Wheatfield. The Wheatfield Town Board is planning to hold a public hearing April 28 on a moratorium on the storage or use of equate in Wheatfield.
While Equate comes from the sewage plant directly out of the anaerobic digester without any other processing, Quasar officials issued a statement last week: "Equate is not …hazardous or human waste.... Equate is a natu- ral agricultural product created from highly-treated municipal waste, food scraps and agricultural waste. It is cleaner than traditional manure and more environmentally friendly than chemical fertilizer. … It is safe. It is not a risk to public health."
The good people of Niagara need a quantity of feathers and tar or better yet "Equate" to run the Quasar people out of town on a rail.





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