The History of Sludge for Agricultural Application

| 2/8/2016 11:11:00 AM

Tags: biosolids, pollution, fertilizer, policy, law, Virginia, Lidia Epp,

Biosludge Marker 

It was a sunny Sunday afternoon in late October 2014. My husband and I were enjoying a soft shell crab sandwich at the Blue Crab Festival in West Point, Va., just a few miles from our home.  Local arts and crafts were on the display, the Main Street was filled with people, cotton candy carts, draft beer stands, merry-go-round, the usual.

A lady with the Sierra Club baseball hat and a handful of flyers came over and asked if we know about the problem with biosolids.

“Biosolids?” we both asked in unison. “What’s that?”

“It’s a municipal sewage sludge and industrial waste that is applied to the farmland as a fertilizer.  A company called Synagro applied for a permit to spread industrial waste on 17,000 acres in our area over the next 10 years. This practice is mostly unmonitored and the permit is very likely to be granted,” she answered, frowning.

“WHAT?!” we screamed, in unison again, and looked at each other in horror. This woman is crazy! This just can’t be!

2/22/2016 3:14:15 PM

This post is timely for my husband and I because we have just been notified that a permit has been requested to spread 8000 pounds of class B sludge over 1000 acres on a neighboring ranch here in Central Texas. This is different than composting toilets. People dump all sorts of things down their sewer like prescription medications, paint, chemicals of all sorts, among many others. Someone who uses a composting toilet is not putting anything into it except natural organic wastes. Read the Cornel Waste Management Institute and Cornell University case paper ( I oppose dumping sludge as a "fertilizer" without updated impartial testing.

2/22/2016 10:38:35 AM

I would agree that modern science oversight and management should be followed; however, I have no issue with sewage treatment 'biomass' being used for agriculture. The industrial waste term does give me a bit of concern, but there is no definition of what this covers, so until we know what this classifies I won't jump headfirst down the FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) pit. Seems interesting that for the folks who read this magazine with topics including composting toilets and reuse of said composted 'biomass' that there would be such an uproar. More information from a sound and impartial source is required.

2/9/2016 3:22:15 PM

Sewage sludge is a dangerous commodity sold and mislabeled by EPA and state environment departments as a benign fertilizer. They promote five myths to gain public acceptance. The full story can be found at Myth # 1, Environmental regulations protect human health and the environment! A Short History Lesson, TOXIC AND HAZARDOUS CHEMICALS FROM EPA TO YOUR TABLE MYTH # 2, Composted Sewage Sludge (biosolids) is a Safe and Sustainable Organic Soil Amendment! A Short History Lesson, Genotoxic Contaminated Compost from EPA to Your Lawn and Garden MYTH # 2, Composted Sewage Sludge (biosolids) is a Safe and Sustainable Organic Soil Amendment! A Short History Lesson, Genotoxic Contaminated Compost from EPA to Your Lawn and Garden Myth # 4, The Spread of Antibiotic Resistance is Caused by the Over Use of Drugs by Doctors and in Agriculture! A Short History Lesson, A PERFECT STORM OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE Myth # 5 “there is no evidence that we have failed to protect the public health and environment” A short history: Coliforms: Dangerous Biological Bioterrorism Agents

2/9/2016 1:16:11 PM

Here are a few of the contents in 'concentrated toxic sewage sludge': Heavy Metals - Aluminum, Antimony, Arsenic, Barium, Beryllium, Bismuth, Boron, Bromine, Cadmium, Cerium, Cesium, Chromium, Copper, Dysprosium, Erbium, Europium, Gadolinium, Germanium, Gold, Hafnium, Holmium, Iron, Lanthanum, Lutetium, Lead, Magnesium, Manganese, Mercury, Molybdenum, Nickel, Niobium, Palladium, Praseodymium, Rhodium, Rubidium, Ruthenium, Samarium, Scandium, Selenium, Silver, Strontium, Tantalum, Tellurium, Terbium, Thallium, Thorium, Thulium, Tin, Titanium, Tungsteen, Uranium, Vanadium, Yttrium, Ytterbium, Zinc Pathogens - Bacteria - Fecal Coliform, Salmonella 2000 types, Shigella 4 spp., E. coli 0157:H7, Staphylococcus aureus, Enteropathogenic E. coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, Campylobacter jejuni, Vibrio cholera, Leptospira, Listeria, Helicobacter, Mycobacteria, Aeromanonas, Legionella, Burkholderia, Endotoxins, antibiotic resistant bacteria Viruses - Adenovirus, Astrovirus, Calcivirus, Coronavirus, Enterovirus, Poliovirus, Coxsackie A, Coxackie B, Echovirus, Enterovirus 68 - 72, Hepatitis A virus, Hepatitis E virus, Norwalk Virus, Reovirus, Rotavirus, Protozoa - Cryptosporidium, Entamoeba histolytica, Giardia lamblia, Balantidium coli, Toxoplasma gondii, Helminths (Parasites) - Ascaris lumbicaides (roundworm), Ancylostoma duodenale (hookworm), Necator americanus (hookworm), Tainia saginata (tapeworm), Trichuris (whipworm), Toxocara (roundworm) Strongyloides (threadworm), Ascaris suum, Toxocara canis, Taenia solium, Hymenolepis nana, Fungi - Aspergillus fumigatus, Candida albicans, Cryptococcus neoformans, Epidermophyton spp., Trichophyton spp., Trichosporon spp., Phialophora spp.,, Prions (spongiform encephalopathy), Synthetic Chemicals - Dioxins & Furans Octachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, 1,2,3,4,6,7, 8-Heptachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, Octachlorodibenzo Furan, 1,2,3,4,6,7,8, Heptachlorodibenzo-Furan (71), 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-Furan, 1,2,3,6,7,8 Hexachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, 1,2,3,4,7,8-Hexachlorodibenzo-Furan, 1,2,3,7,8,9-Hexachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, 1,2,3,6,7,8-Hexachlorodibenzo-Furan, 2,3,4,6,7,8-Hexachlorodibenzo-Furan, 1,2,3,4,7,8,9-Heptachlorodibenzo-Furan, 2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzo-Furan, 1,2,3,4,7,8-Hexachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, 1,2,3,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzo-Furan, 1,2,3,7,8 Penta-chlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, 1,2,3,7,8,9-Hexachlorodibenzo-Furan, 2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-P-Dioxin, Polychlorinated Dibenzodioxin/Polychlorinated Dibenzofuran (PCDD/PCDF), Tetrahydrofuran, 2,4-D, 2, 4,5-T, dioxin (TCDD) Organics (carbon-based) Acetones, Chloroform, Cyclohexanone, Bis(2-ethylhexyl) Phthalate, Bis(2-ethylhexyl), tetrabromophthalate, Di-n-undecyl phthalate, Alkyl benzyl Phthalate, Di-(2-Ethylhexyl) Phthalate, (DEHP). Butyl Benzyl Phthalate, Toluene, 2-Propanone, Methylene Chloride, Hexanoic Acid, 2-Butanone, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, Alcohol Ethoxylate, Alkylphenolethoxylates, Phenol, Nonylphenol, 2,2’-methylenebis{4-methyl-6-nonyl-Phenol, p-Nonylphenol, 4,4’-butylidenebis{2-(1,1-dimethylethyl)-5-methyl-,4-Methylphenol, Phenol, 4,4’-(1-methylethylidene) bis{2-(1,1-dimeth, Phenol, 4,4’-(1-methylethylidene) bis(2-(1,1-dimeth, 2,4-dicumylphenol, p-Dodecylphenol, 2,4,5-Trichlorophenol, N-Hexacosane, N-Tetracosane, N-Dodecane, N-Tetradecane, N-Triacontane, N-Eicosane, N-Hexadecane, N-Octacosane, Carbon Disul_de, N-Decane, N-Docosane, ,N-Octadecane, P-Cymene, Benzo(B)_uranthene, Fluoranthene, P-Chloroaniline, Pyrene, Tetrachloromethane, Trichloro_uoromethane, 2-Hexanone, 2-Methylnaphthalene, 4-Chloroaniline, Benzo(a)pyrene ,Pesticides &Insecticides Aldrin, Chlordane, Cyclohexane, Heptachlor, Endosulfan, Endosu_an-II, Lindane, Dieldrin, Endrin, DDT, DDD, DDE, 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxyacetic Acid, Acetic Acid (2,4-Dichlorophenoxy), 2,4,5-Trichlorophenoxypropionic Acid, Pentachloronitrobenzene, Chlorobenzilate, Beta-BHC, Kepone, Mirex, Methoxycholor, PCBs- PCB-1016, PCB-1221, PCB-1232, PCB-1242, PCB-1248, PCB-1254, PCB-1260, PBDEs (PolyBrominated Diphenyl Ethers) BDE-28, BDE-47, BDE-66, BDE-85, BDE-99, BDE-100, BDE-138, BDE-153, BDE-154, BDE-183, BDE-209, Hydrocarbons, Petrochemicals, Organochlorines PCBs, PCT, PBB, PBT, Anthracene, Pentachlorophenol, Benzo(g,h,i)perylene, Benzene, Benzene, C14-C24-branched, Polyethylbenzene residue, Octane, Hexachlorobenzene, Ethylbenzene, Chlorinated Benzenes, Naphtha (petroleum), turpentine-oil, Hydrotreated kerosene, Hydrocarbon oils, Hydrocarbons, C10 and C12, Distillates (petroleum), Fuel oil, Creosols, P-Cresol, O-Cresol, 2-(2H-Benzotriazol-2-yl)-p-cresol, Hexachlorobutadiene, N-Nitrosodimethylamine, Toxaphene, Trichloroethane, Tetrachloroethane, Hexachloroethane, Carbon Tetrachloride, Dichloroethylene, Trichloroethylene, Tetrachloroethylene, Xylene Pharmaceuticals 1,7-Dimethylxanthine, 4-Epianhydrochlortetracycline, 4-Epianhydrotetracycline, 4-Epichlortetracycline, 4-Epioxytetracycline, 4-Epitetracycline, Acetaminophen, Albuterol, Anhydrochlortetracycline, Azithromycin, Ca_eine, Carbadox, Carbamazepine, Cefotaxime, Chlortetracycline, Cimetidine, Cipro_oxacin, Clarithromycin, Clina_oxacin, Cloxacillin, Codeine, Cotinine, Dehydronifedipine, Demeclocycline, Digoxigenin, Digoxin, Diltiazem, Diphenhydramine, Doxycycline, Enro_oxacin, Erythromycin-Total, Flumequine, Fluoxetine, Gem_brozil, Ibuprofen, Isochlortetracycline, Lincomycin, Lome_oxacin, Metformin, Miconazole, Minocycline, Naproxen, Nor_oxacin, Norgestimate, O_oxacin, Ormetroprim, Oxacillin, Oxolinic Acid, Oxytetracycline, Penicillin G, Penicillin V, Ranitidine, Roxithromycin, Sara_oxacin, Sulfachloropyridazine, Sulfadiazine, Sulfadimethoxine, Sulfamerazine, Sulfamethazine, Sulfamethizole, Sulfamethoxazole, Sulfanilamide, Sulfathiazole, Tetracycline, Thiabendazole, Triclocarban, Triclosan, Trimethoprim, Tylosin, Virginiamycin, Warfarin, Steriods & Hormones 17 Alpha-Dihydroequilin, 17 Alpha-Estradiol, 17-Alpha-Ethinyl-Estradiol, 17-Beta-Estradiol, Androstenedione, Androsterone, Beta Stigmastanol, Campesterol, Cholestanol, Cholesterol, Desmosterol, Epicoprostanol, Equilenin, Ergosterol, Estriol, Estrone, Ethinylestradiol, Norethindrone, Norgestrel, Progesterone, Stigmasterol, Sitostanol, Beta-Estradiol 3-Benzoate, Beta-Sitosterol, Equilin, Testosterone

2/9/2016 1:10:25 PM

Dear Bill ---- you made the following statement in your post: "can't get behind something as straightforward as recycling our own well-treated excretament in your post"... 1. Concentrated toxic sewage sludge is NOT JUST "excrement".. Sewage sludge is ALL WASTE FROM A CITY... not just human.. waste from funeral homes, labs, vet clinics, hospitals, universities, etc etc.. 2. It is NOT 'well treated' as it still contains pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, and many pathogens, not counting the hundreds and thousands of chemicals and their derivatives ..... to better educate yourself on the dangers of concentrated toxic sewage sludge... you can go to or see us on Facebook: sewage sludge action network

2/8/2016 6:25:49 PM

I have a totally different take on the matter of biosolids recycling to farms. I am an advocate. I have been so for over 25 years. I have worked for a public waste water agency that recycles biosolids. And after my retirement, I have been working for a trade association committed to recycling biosolids. Why? I am a believer. It works well for farmers. Crops grow well, and soil health improves. The science is behind it. Contrary to what you read above, if you go to Google Scholar, see for yourself that the vast proportion of many hundreds of science studies world-wide confirm biosolids effectiveness and safety. The many thousands of us in the United States who have devoted our lives to careers in municipal waste water treatment are committed stewards of the environment. We do this recycling because it is the right thing to do, even in the face of upset by some folks. Step back for a second. If we, as sustainability-minded folks, can't get behind something as straightforward as recycling our own well-treated excreta, how are we going to deal with tough things, say the 7 billion cellphones out in the world, or the trillion plastic bags used each year?

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