Activists Fight Biosolids Land Application

| 4/25/2016 9:24:00 AM

Tags: biosolids, toxic sludge, environmental activism, environmental health, environmental policy, toxicity, Lidia Epp, Virginia,

The interview below is with Caroline Snyder, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology. Dr. Snyder was one of the first faculty members in the nation to design and teach interdisciplinary Environmental Studies and Environmental Science courses. Before retiring, she chaired the Department of Science, Technology, and Society. Professor Snyder did her undergraduate work at Radcliffe College and received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1966.

For the past 20 years, Dr. Snyder has researched the politics and science of using contaminated waste, such as municipal sewage sludges, as “fertilizer.” After co-chairing  the N.H. Sludge Management Advisory Committee, she founded Citizens for Sludge-Free Land. She is a charter member of the Union of Concerned Scientists. Dr Snyder has testified nationwide on the inadequacy of the current land application policies and the attempts by industry and EPA to suppress negative data concerning this controversial practice and has served as an unpaid expert witness in sludge-related litigation.

In October 2005, her paper, “The Dirty Work of Promoting ‘Recycling’ America’s Sewage Sludge” was published in the International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health. The paper was reprinted under the title "Sewage Sludge Recycling Poses a Threat to Human Health" in Garbage and Recycling (Greenhaven Press, 2007). In March 2006, she was invited by KGET-TV of Bakersfield, Calif., as one of three national experts to participate in an hour-long forum on the land application of sewage sludge. In May 2008, Dr Snyder debated Dean Michael Klag of the Johns Hopkins’ Bloomsberg School of Public Health on Democracy Now on a pilot project in low-income Baltimore neighborhoods that recommended adding sludge compost to lead-contaminated front yards to decrease childhood lead poisoning.

 Nicola Valley B.C. anti-sludge protesters

The above photo shows one of three road blocks put up by a concerned group of native and non-native "protectors" (not protesters) in support of the Chiefs' Moratorium against importing biosolids into the Nicola Valley traditional territories. Members of First Nations are playing an active and important role in the anti-biosolids movement in Nicola Valley in British Columbia, Canada.This remote region is a site of biosolids land application for the Vancouver area.

Dr Snyder, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today about your fight against the land application of sludge. What made you decide to tackle the sludge issue?

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