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State updates New Kent neighbors about fly problem

NEW KENT COUNTY, Va. -- New Kent County neighbors packed the county's welcome center Wednesday night to learn more about bio and industrial solid sludge.

Experts from various state agencies, including the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Virginia Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services, Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, spoke at the meeting to give people a better understanding product.

"Biosolids are the material that is separated from sewage at a municipal wastewater treatment plant," Neil Zahradka, Manager, Officer of Land Application Process with Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, said.

The board of supervisors held the informational meeting Wednesday after several homes along Tunstall Road became infested with flies.

Donna Foster experienced the nightmare.

"Well the situation with flies, thank goodness is gone," Foster said.

Foster said the flies came three weeks after the bio sludge was put down by a farmer nearby.

The agencies said they monitor all bio-sludge fertilizer before it leaves plant sites, but nothing after.

"There seems to be a big gap between who monitors this product from the time it leaves the paper mill to the time it's being applied," said Foster.  "Someone needs to be responsible for this product once it gets to our homes."

The county said since the product is regulated by the state, they don't have much control over it. But they hope to find monitoring solutions soon.

"We're going to maybe adopted an ordinance after the application is applied so we can at least go out there and monitor it and make sure the water quality stays safe," said New Kent Board of Supervisor Thomas Evelyn.

The question still remains as to where the flies came from and why they swarmed the homes.

Evelyn said the county will continue working with state agencies to find answers. Meanwhile they will discuss an ordinance to monitor the sludge and water quality after its put down, at their next board meeting.

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