Over 70 State and Nationwide Groups Oppose DEC Permits for the Proposed Saratoga Biochar Solutions LLC Facility in the Town of Moreau

Saratoga Biochar Solutions LLC proposes to manufacture harmful sewage sludge-derived biochar for agricultural use on a scale unprecedented in New York State


Nydia Gutierrez, ngutierrez@earthjustice.org

Today, a group of more than 70 organizations and coalitions across New York and the nation has submitted comments to NYS-Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) opposing permits and approvals for the proposed Saratoga Biochar Solutions LLC facility in the Town of Moreau. Saratoga Biochar Solutions LLC hopes to manufacture sewage sludge-derived biochar for agricultural use on a scale unprecedented in New York. During the project’s first phase trucks would deliver up to 78,400 wet tons of waste per year to the facility for use as feedstock for biochar production. The applicant aims to fully build out the facility within a few years, after which the number of tons of trucked sewage waste could balloon to 235,200 wet tons per year. Once inside the proposed facility the waste is “cooked” through a process known as “pyrolysis.”

The Comments express concern that the facility will emit harmful pollutants, including PFAS, into surrounding communities’ air and the Hudson River. PFAS are a group of difficult-to-destroy chemicals that have been linked to a variety of adverse health effects, including cancer, elevated cholesterol, obesity, immune suppression, pre-eclampsia, impaired liver and kidney function, and endocrine disruption. Saratoga Biochar Solutions LLC included various models of air pollution dispersion into two state-designated disadvantaged or low-income communities in their air permit applications.

The following statement is attributed to Michael Youhana, Senior Associate Attorney, Earthjustice:

“We are concerned that the production and agricultural use of sewage sludge-derived biochar at this scale may release a wide range of contaminants, including PFAS, into surrounding communities. The proposed location of this facility near two state-designated disadvantaged or low-income communities of Hudson Falls and Glens Falls is unacceptable. These two communities already face extraordinarily high public health and pollution burdens. For example, the two communities have some of the highest Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) emergency department visits in the state.”

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