Posted by Administrator – September 7, 2010 at 8:00 AM

As I researched the science and history behind the composting site proposed by Nursery Products, LLC, I think what stood out most was that hysteria and hatred completely replaced logic and common sense.  It seems many of those who so adamantly oppose this project have likely never read a scientific study regarding the safety of biosolids, visited the nearest composting site outside Bakersfield, or even been to the Hinkley site to observe its isolation for themselves.  If they had, they would see what Nursery Products is doing to be a good neighbor and protect the environment, including that of Hinkley.  Instead they prefer to direct their deep-seated hatred at those who are easy targets rather than looking for the real evildoers.

The original Nursery Products site was located in Adelanto, California.  As those who have lived in the High Desert region of San Bernardino County know, Adelanto was always a very small town with virtually no business enterprise whatsoever other than a few mom-and-pop liquor stores and bars, massage parlors, a small restaurant and pizza parlor, and a casino.  It survived because of its proximity to the former George Air Force Base (GAFB) and revenue received from the casino.

Homes and apartments in Adelanto had always been scarce.  Airman from George, desperate for off-base housing, rented run-down, converted chicken coops and similarly dilapidated buildings that were allowed to exist due to the city’s lax building standards and enforcement. The city was known for its graft and corruption, especially within its city council and police department.

In December 1992, George Air Force Base was officially decommissioned and the city of Adelanto nearly became a ghost town as no one wanted to rent the available housing.  The city evolved into a graffiti-covered haven for gangs, welfare recipients, and criminals with a very bleak future.

Ten years later Adelanto still had not recovered from the closure of  GAFB.  Nursery Products, LLC approached the city ad proposed opening a composting facility on 40 acres.  Adelanto welcomed its new occupant with open arms.

The building boom that was in progress in the rest of the county finally hit in Adelanto and Nursery Products soon found itself surrounded by residential tracts.  Like the guy who builds a house next to a chicken ranch and then complains about the flies,  some of Nursery Products’ new neighbors responded similarly, egged on with financial incentives offered by Nursery Products’ nearest competitor, McCarty Farms. Unlike many corporate neighbors, Nursery Products took responsibility for the legitimate issues and attempted to work with the city and their neighbors.

Jeff Meberg, owner of Nursery Products, went before the citizens of Adelanto, admitted to the problem and offered solutions to correct it.  A citizens group was formed and the issues were addressed.  Residents were satisfied and it seemed the two could live in harmony.

Unfortunately, solutions did not meet the outcome desired by McCarthy Farms.   McCarthy Farms used outsiders to promote hysteria in an effort to shut Meberg down.  Meberg began to look for a new site  further away from any development so that issue could no longer be raised.

Meberg learned much from the Adelanto site.  The Hinkley site is located two miles from any residence or business.  It is approximately 8 miles from the nearest unincorporated community, Hinkley, and 22 miles from any incorporated city. The site is isolated, desolate desert not likely to be developed for decades.

Although groundwater contamination is not an issue, three testing wells are being drilled to add an extra degree of safety, monitors beyond anything required by the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District are being installed, the road is being paved to prevent dust from the trucks that will transport the biosolids and finished product, and the site will not be on the power grid.  The compost must be kept damp, which will also mitigate any concerns about dust from the compost itself.  The type of green waste being accepted at the new facility is expected to substantially reduce any issue with flies.

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