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!

tc20
11/24/2017 9:22:34 AM

I live in Pen Argyl PA and we're fighting to keep Synagro from building a "crap factory at the Waste Management facility in the neighboring town of Plainfield Township. They want to truck in 400 tons a day of sewer sludge from NY, NJ and CT and process it into their "crap" pellets. The plant would run 24/7/365. There are homes around 1500 feet away from the proposed area along with two nearby creeks. Both creeks end at the Delaware River. At a Plainfield Township Planning Board meeting, in July 2017 and attended by more then 250 community members, a Board member asked a rep from Synagro "how do you test the sludge that comes in? " The Rep said they send a sample out to be tested." The Board member then asked "what do you do with the sludge while you're waiting for the test results?" The Rep said "they process it". After the crowd settled down, the Board member, with a look of amazement, asked the Rep from Synagro "did you say you process it before you get the test results? " The Rep said "yes". Remember that they only have to test for 10 different contaminants out of the possible 90,000 plus that are in sludge. Also, they don't test to see how different chemicals interact with each other.


tomcar
11/24/2017 9:22:32 AM

I live in Pen Argyl PA and we're fighting to keep Synagro from building a "crap" factory at the Waste Management facility in the neighboring town of Plainfield. They want to truck in 400 tons a day of sewer sludge from NY, NJ and CT and process it. There are homes around 1500 feet away from the proposed area. A Plainfield Township Planning Board member asked a rep from Synagro, at a town meeting, how do they test the sludge that comes in? The Rep' s answer was they send a sample out to a lab. The Board member then asked the Rep "what do you do with the sludge while you're waiting for the test results? " The Synagro Rep's response was "we process it." After the 200 plus residents of the community settled down, with a look of amazement the Board member asked the Rep "did you say you process it before you get the test results? " The Rep said "yes". Remember, they only have to test for 10 things out of the possible 90 thousand contaminants in the sludge. Also, they don't have to test for how different chemicals interact with each other.


ElayneDay
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 (http://cwmi.css.cornell.edu/case.pdf). I oppose dumping sludge as a "fertilizer" without updated impartial testing.





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