The Sludging of Rural Communities

| 3/23/2016 4:54:00 PM

Sludge delivered to the farmland, next to it - the cattle is graizing.

A mother of a 7-year old boy suffering from asthma followed the rules and filled out the forms for the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Virginia Department of Health (VDH), requesting that due to her child’s health issues the setback for the upcoming application of biosolids next to her house will be extended. Three attending physicians attached letters requesting that at least a one mile setback is observed.

A new biosolids permit was just issued by the DEQ to the sludge distributor and in that new permit three new sites were proposed within a stone throw of the house where the sick boy lived.

The VDH – Biosolids Medical Review Committee rubber-stamped the denial, only to allow 400ft setback instead of the requested one mile from all three application sites. The members of that committee didn’t bother talking to the mother, evaluating the child, consulting with the physicians, or visiting the site. They didn’t give a moment of consideration to the child’s health, safety or welfare, all of which was done well within the parameters of current state regulations.

This story was told to me by C.W, a resident of the same community. He too is one of the many victims of biosolids invasion into the rural Virginia. C.W. is a resident of a small community in Louisa County. His next door neighbors, landowners, sold a portion of their land. On the part of the property that remained in their possession they allowed the sludge distributor to spread biosolids and industrial residuals.

C.W. lowers his voice and leans forward, it sounds almost like a scary nighttime story you tell your grandkids – they always come at night, 3:30 am is their favorite time. First, you wake up to the noise of big, heavy dump trucks lifting their loading beds. Then – the smell comes…… and it doesn’t leave you. Ever! It permeates your skin, your hair, it’s stuck in your clothes, it gets into your nostrils and stays there. You can’t open the windows to air your home - the source of that horrid, indescribable smell is just outside your window! You get in your car and it takes a ride with you, there is no escape from it. And it makes you sick. Headache, upset stomach, nausea – those symptoms come first. Then you notice tightness in your chest, you develop a chronic cough, migraines, rashes, watery itchy eyes. There is a long list of symptoms.

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