UPDATE: On March 8th, Gilmanton voters defeated the proposed ban on local biosolids use by a vote of 531 to 501.
The beauty of democracy - especially small-town democracy - is that people can raise issues and openly debate them, with the goal of improving their communities. With that comes responsibility - responsibility for citizens to learn and join the discussion, to figure out what's best.
Gilmanton, New Hampshire is going through a classic debate about biosolids use on local farms. Like other agricultural operations, biosolids create some nuisances, including temporary odors - and neighbors can become legitimately concerned.
But communities also value operating farms, because they provide local jobs and maintain open space; they are integral to the rural landscape. And, with or without biosolids, they will create what some neighbors will experience as nuisances.
Biosolids provide the farms cost-effective fertilizer and help build more productive soils. They are managed and applied like manures. They've been researched and in use nationwide - and in New Hampshire - for 40+ years.
What's notable about the Gilmanton debate is that it is occurring again - just 5 years after voters turned down a similar ban on biosolids use by a 2 - 1 margin.
NEBRA welcomes discussions of biosolids recycling. Even if it's every five years! They are opportunities for learning. We're glad to arrange tours of biosolids production at wastewater treatment facilities and at sites where biosolids are land applied. We can provide slide presentations & answer questions. That's what we're here for.
But we rely on responsible democracy - on you and every citizen - to make sound choices based on objective information. So we're urging Gilmanton voters - just as we urge all citizens - to learn more. See more about the Gilmanton debate.