Barnside Requests DEP Permit Reinstatement

The DEP is requesting public comment on the facility's permit to compost food, which was suspended after neighbors complained of insects, odors and noise.


The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is requesting public comment on a request from Barnside Farm Composting, of Haldeman Road in Lower Salford Township, to reinstate a food composting permit, according to the DEP.

At the September Perkiomen Township meeting, a resident alerted the township supervisors to Barnside's application, which has since moved to the next step of a DEP review.

"It's a very sticky situation because there are four townships right there," said the Haldeman Road resident.   "The people affected by it are in this township, and that is why I wanted to make you aware."

This application for a permit reinstatement comes less than two years after complaints of odors, noise and insects prompted the Department of Environmental Protection to shut down the Lower Salford company's food waste operation.

Since its inception in 1998, the company offered mulch, compost and topsoil to customers. In May of 2010, owners Walt and Nancy Larkin began receiving food waste, after being granted a permit by the DEP.

Less than a year after the Larkins were received the permit to collect food scraps, local residents met with DEP and local officials to testify about their living conditions as a result of the food composting - issues included excessive flies, odor, and heavy equipment noises as early as 6:30 a.m., according to the Souderton Independent.

The DEP then suspended the facility's permit to collect food waste, though it continues to collect yard waste.

According to another Souderton Independent article, the Larkins voluntarily suspended their food collection, and have invested in equipment to eliminate the smells associated with composting food. The DEP states that the new application addresses the odors.

According to the DEP, copies of the application are available for public viewing at the Perkiomen Valley Library in Schwenksville and the DEP's Southeast Regional Office in Norristown.

Comments on the application are encouraged, and must be sent by Nov. 15 to Mohamad Mazid in the DEP’s Southeast Regional Office at 2 E. Main St., Norristown, PA 19401

William Donnelly October 17, 2012 at 01:01 PM
To be clear- the permit was suspended do to poor management of the facility and odors not just complaints about odors. The proposed new process may lessen the odors but there is no way it will eliminate them. Odors are only one of the issues that will plague this neighborhood if the food waste acceptance is allowed to commence. The permit could allow over 500 tons of food waste to be dumped into unlined earthen pits. This food waste is typically very high in liquids which in their process are to be absorbed by wood chips and leaves before soaking into the ground. I find it hard to believe that the excessive liquids dumped into the pit will be immediately absorbed. With load after load being dumped into this mixing pit this potentially toxic liquid will get into the ground. This liquid should just be from rotting fruits, Vegitables and food but what if someone needs to dispose of a toxic liquid and sees an unattended dumpster? The air in our neighborhood will also be violated. The proposed forced air system will push volumes of air through large piles of food waste mixed with other organic matter capped with either a finished compost or more chips. The capping material may trap some of the odors but not the potential VOCs, excessive amounts of fungus spores, and airborne bacteria. I am a strong supporter of composting but it must be done in an environmentally responsible manner. The surrounding environment must be protected, that includes the neighbors.
Lee November 08, 2012 at 07:25 PM
My gosh the whole town of Schwenksville is down wind from that place which is on a truly beautiful bucolic section of Haldeman and above a stream that leads to the Perkiomen. It's probably a very good venture for the Barnside I feel bad about that because I love encouraging local business, but can you imagine having an wedding at Pennypacker Mills on a warm Saturday, and catching a drift of that!
Jack Neborak November 25, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Those of us who live close to Barnside endured the summer of 2010 swatting flies and smelling rotting garbage 24/7. They have not begun to accept food waste again but there are unusual odors in our neighborhood again in our neighborhood from their composting operation. No one should have to live in stink.


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