NTX Farmer to Stop Spreading Human Waste as Fertilizer

A farmer near Krum has agreed to stop spreading treated human waste on his land as fertilizer after more than 20 people complained about the stench to the state environmental agency.

(Published Friday, Feb. 9, 2018)

A farmer near Krum has agreed to stop spreading treated human waste on his land as fertilizer after more than 20 people complained about the stench to the state environmental agency.

"Just, eww. It was nasty," said Deb Fairman. "I thought it was a bunch of dead animals, just rotting."

Many people in the small town northwest of Denton described the smell the same way.

"It smells like dead animals, rotting flesh," Scott Edwards said.

State investigators tracked the smell to treated human waste from the Trinity River Authority. A Fort Worth company, Renda Environmental, had an agreement to spread the biosolids on some farmland west of town.

"We're very responsive to complaints, so we pulled out of there," said Ben Davis, Renda's environmental program manager.

Davis added the material is "high quality" and "very safe."

A lawyer for the property owner said the farmer will stop accepting the fertilizer immediately.

The attorney, John Carney, said the farmer grows corn and sorghum, which is used only as animal feed, and had been spreading the fertilizer for months.

It's not clear why people started complaining about the smell only recently.

"As long as my little boy can go outside and play and we don't have to hold our breath driving into town, I'm OK with that," said Rachel Spencer.

A spokeswoman for Texas Commission on Environmental Quality said the agency was investigating.

Many people in Krum said the stench was all but gone by late Friday.

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