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Sewage Sludge

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Syngas Cleanup  *  Synthesis Gas  *  Waste Gasification  *  Waste to Energy  *  Waste to Fuel





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What is "Sewage Sludge?"

Some would have the public believe that sewage sludge, also known as "biosolids," is recycled "domestic waste."  The latest is the E.P.A. is allowing "sewage sludge" to be renamed "compost" in an effort to fool the public about the toxic nature of sewage sludge. 

The fact is, sewage sludge is defined by Harper-Collins Dictionary of Environmental Science as "a semi-solid mixture of bacteria, virus-laden organic matter, toxic metals, synthetic organic chemicals, and settled solids removed from domestic and industrial waste at sewage treatment plants." 

It gets worse, current federal regulations allow every business to dump 33 pounds of hazardous waste into public sewers every month without reporting or scrutiny

No wonder that the Federal Clean Water Act classifies sewage sludge as a pollutant. 

The EPA is charged with protecting the environment, but when it comes to sewage sludge, the E.P.A. seems to be making exceptions to its' own laws and regulations, and looks the other way.

 


Sewage Sludge

Advanced Gasification  Biomethane  *  Biomass Gasifiers  *  CHP Systems  *  Plasma Gasification

Syngas Cleanup  *  Synthesis Gas  *  Waste Gasification  *  Waste to Energy  *  Waste to Fuel





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Sewage Sludge:
also called by the innocent-sounding, non-alarming, non-toxic term; "Biosolids"
is Poisoning our Planet!

Sewage Sludge is a TOXIC Soup of Hazardous Pollutants 
and Carcinogenic Chemicals and NOT to be Used in "Fertilizing" 
ANYTHING, Especially on our Fruits, Vegetables, Farms, Lawns,
Parks or ANYPLACE People or Animals Could Come in Contact!

 

The Sewage Sludge Hits the Fan in San Francisco!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Ed Harrington, General Manager
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC)
1155 Market Street, 11th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94103

Dear Mr. Harrington,

Thank you for the letter you sent on March 10, 2010 to the Center for Food Safety and the Organic Consumers’ Association. Since the two letters were identical, we are responding jointly.

As you note, we have called upon the city of San Francisco to stop applying toxic sewage sludge onto private and public lands. Your deceptive program of packaging sewage sludge as "organic compost" and giving it to unsuspecting gardeners has rightfully provoked dismay and anger among the Bay Area's gardeners and citizens as was manifested in the public protest at Mayor Newsom's offices on March 4.

Furthermore, we object to your use of the invented PR term "biosolids" to promote what is a nationwide scam perpetrated by the sewage sludge industry. You are talking about sewage sludge, and we will continue to call sewage sludge by its correct name, sewage sludge, not by a euphemism that is the result of a public relations contest held within the sewage sludge industry to come up with a name that would deceive the public. (1.)

Yes, the Center for Food Safety initiated a very limited pilot test program on only one small sample of the tons of toxic sludge you gave away. And, yes, as was accurately reported by Channel Five CBS News, even this very limited test confirmed the presence of unregulated hazardous materials in your sewage sludge. Our two non-profit organizations cannot afford the very expensive testing that would be necessary to even begin to identify the thousands of toxic contaminants and pathogens present in sewage sludge of the sort you are giving away. But, as manager of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission you surely know that the EPA has found that dozens of hazardous materials—not regulated and not required to be tested for—have been documented in each and every one of the sludge samples EPA took around the USA. (2.)

When you, the entity that has given away tons of sewage sludge contaminated by hazardous materials from nine California counties, make available to the public complete test results for all the hazardous materials present in this sludge, we will also release the results of our very limited testing. In short, due diligence requires that you perform this testing and make it available to the public.

Finally, it is the ethical and legal responsibility of the SFPUC and the city of San Francisco to conduct cleanup and remediation of the gardens that received your sludge under false pretenses. You know that if you had attempted to give away truthfully labeled sewage sludge for use in gardens where children play and where food is grown, the public would have adamantly refused and would certainly not have accepted your “gift” of tons of toxic sewage sludge. (3.) Indeed, this is why the sewage sludge industry has for decades gone to such great lengths in its effort to promote toxic sludge as “fertilizer,” and “land application” as “recycling”: first by disguising the very idea of sewage sludge with the fabricated green-sounding euphemism “biosolids,” and now by usurping from the organic gardening and farming movement such revered words as “compost” and “organic” itself. This is really a toxic disposal program masquerading as “environmental recycling.” We demand you end it and clean up the pollution you have created.


Sincerely,

Andrew Kimbrell, Center for Food Safety

Ronnie Cummins, Organic Consumers Association

Citations:

1.) See the 1995 book Toxic Sludge Is Good for You! By John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Biosolids

2.) Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey results are described in two EPA reports that together constitute the TNSSS: EPA-822-R-08-016 and EPA-822-R-08-018. http://epa.gov/waterscience/biosolids/tnsss-overview.html Published by EPA, January 2009.

3.) For instance, imagine the public reaction if even an industry document such as this one had been supplied during the sewage sludge give-away, replete with some of the general sludge exposure warnings provided to sludge and sewage workers. See the document titled: National Biosolids Partnership, Waste Water and Biosolids Worker Health and Safety - Frequently Asked Questions, http://www.biosolids.org/news.asp?id=1415, July, 2002

 

Sewage Sludge
www.SewageSludge.com

The Ultimate Online Resource about Sewage Sludge
and Solving the Problems with Sewage Sludge.

 

To Advertise on this site, send email to:

advertising@SewageSludge.com

 

 

WARNING!!!!

"ALL LANDFILL LINERS AND LEACHATE COLLECTION SYSTEMS WILL FAIL" 

"Even the best liner and leachate collection system will ultimately fail due to natural deterioration, and recent improvements in MSWLF containment technologies suggest that releases may be delayed by many decades at some landfills. For this reason, the Agency is concerned that while corrective action may have already been triggered at many facilities, 30 years may be insufficient to detect releases at other landfills." Source: US EPA Federal Register, Aug 30, 1988, Vol.53, No.168. 

 

DON'T EAT YOUR VEGETABLES GROWN AT 
1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE 
GROWN IN THE ORGANIC GARDEN 
AT THE WHITE HOUSE!

Inside the White House: From The Organic Garden to the Kitchen and Dinner Table!

 

Sewage Sludge
www.SewageSludge.com

We Turn Your City or County's Sewage Sludge Problems  
into Profits and Green Energy!


We help turn Sewage Sludge problems and liabilities into profits and renewable energy with one or more of the following: Anaerobic Digester, Biomethane, Biomass Gasification, Landfill Gas To Energy and Sewage Sludge "problems into profits"  project development services.

Renewable Energy Ventures provides the following power and energy project development services:


Sewage Sludge Facts:

Sewage sludge contains over 10 times the amount of energy needed to treat it. On average, dried sewage sludge contains as much energy - pound for pound - as lignite coal!  More precisely, sewage sludge contains about 7780 Btu's/pound!  Therefore, it makes sense to use the available energy in sewage sludge and to recover the energy from the sewage sludge in "waste to energy" technologies such as biomass gasification

As renewable energy, sewage sludge can be integrated into wastewater treatment systems which make them net exporters of renewable energy - instead of net importers of fossil fuel based power from the grid.  The more sewage sludge that is used as a "fuel" in generating renewable energy, the more that we reduce greenhouse gas emissions.  

Today, many cities are paying as much as $180/ton to landfill sewage sludge. New York City has paid as much as $800/ton to dispose of their sewage sludge.  Every city's wastewater treatment plants must process their sewage sludge  prior to disposal.  These sewage sludge processing expenses cost about 35% of a wastewater treatment plant's annual budget.  (Ask us how we can save this 35% expense for your city, and much more.)  This is simply wasteful - and wasteful in several ways.  First of all, cities are wasting their limited and finite economic resources by spending enormous sums of money to temporarily landfill their sewage sludge.  We say temporary, as every landfill will fail at some uncertain date in the future.  The "toxic soup mix" of found in sewage sludge may contain a host of 60,000 different chemicals, carcinogens, pharmaceuticals, pathogens, and poisons, that will poison and destroy the ground, groundwater, and everything that the sewage sludge comes in contact with once the landfill fails.  And when your landfill does fail, the E.P.A. will come in and order the generator (your city that generated the sewage sludge) to pay for the clean up of the environment, even though the generator (your city) paid to have the sewage sludge "disposed of" - it was never really "disposed" - it was simply "stored" - and it will no longer be stored when the landfill fails, and releases the sewage sludge, and the rest of the contents in the landfill to the environment.  Secondly, you wouldn't "waste" enormous amounts of money sending other fuels and renewable fuels such as; Biomethane, B100 Biodiesel, coal, etc., to a landfill, would you?  That's what your city is doing when you treat your sewage sludge as a liability instead of an asset. 

We Help City's Transform Sewage Sludge From Liabilities into Assets - Along with all Other Biomass Presently Being Disposed of in Landfills!

Sewage sludge becomes an asset - NOT a liability, after we install our biomass gasification and trigeneration plant at your city's landfill or wastewater treatment plant!  We will then be able to reduce your city's sewage sludge expenses at least 50%.  Additionally, when we generate green power from your city's sewage sludge and the other biomass "wastes" presently being wasted by disposing of in landfills - wastes such as; grass clippings, municipal solid waste, paper, wood chips, urban wood waste, food waste and construction and demolition materials, we further reduce your city's expenses, and significantly reduce your city's greenhouse gas emissions.  These other biomass "wastes," along with sewage sludge generated by your city, no longer needs to be "wasted" by landfilling.  Instead, these biomass "wastes" can be converted to green power through our biomass gasification and trigeneration plant.  

Imagine, 65% of the waste your city generates - presently going to landfills - becomes renewable energy for your city through our biomass gasification and trigeneration plant!  This prolongs the life of your landfill(s) and saves the landfill for true waste. This also immediately translates to significant reductions in your city's related budget, as well as reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.  

Your city can become truly "green" when your city treats its sewage sludge and other biomass "wastes" as an asset and not a liability.  Your city's biomass is a valuable resource, and instead of sending these resources to your landfill, bring the biomass "waste" to our biomass gasification and trigeneration plant - and stop "wasting waste.™"

When cities begin seeing their sewage sludge as an asset and renewable resource instead of a liability and a waste, new revenues are generated and expenses are eliminated, renewable green power and energy is generated, city budgets and operating expenses are reduced, finances improve, the tax burden of their citizens are eased, and greenhouse gas emissions are reduced.  

More Facts About Sewage Sludge

Each year, wastewater treatment plants in the U.S. generate about 7.2 million tons of dry sewage sludge.  

Number of public wastewater treatment plants in the U.S.:  16,583

U.S. population connected to a central wastewater treatment plant: 227,740,677 or about 77% of the population

Annual amount of sewage sludge generated per person:  71.2 pounds

Current sewage sludge end uses:

                Combined disposal (incineration and landfills) 43%

                Land application 51%

                Reuse (not land application) 6%

 

Farm Sewage Sludge a Health Threat

Sun Aug 4, 2008

You may be anything but flush with health if you live near farm fields fertilized with sewage sludge.

Burning and irritated eyes and lungs, skin rashes and other illnesses are among the problems experienced by residents of homes close to land where Class B biosolids -- a byproduct of the human waste treatment process -- are applied, says a recently published University of Georgia study.

The study included 54 people living near 10 biosolid application sites in Alabama, California, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Texas and the province of Ontario in Canada.

Many of the residents had Staphylococcus aureus infections on the skin and in their respiratory tracts. About 25 percent of the people in the study were infected, and two died as the result of septicemia and pneumonia. S. aureus is commonly found in the lower human colon.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency doesn't consider S. aureus to be a significant public health risk, even though it's the leading cause of hospital-acquired infections and is commonly found in sewage, says study co-author David Lewis, a research microbiologist at the university.

Lewis says that chemicals are added when the sludge is being processed. These chemicals can irritate the skin and respiratory tract and make people more susceptible to infection, he said.

In a recent report about biosolids, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Sciences concluded the use of processed sewage sludge as a commercial fertilizer may be a public health risk.

Along with pathogens, sewage sludge can contain household chemicals,heavy metals, pesticides, and synthetic hormones from birth control pills and dioxins.

Source: safe2use.com

 

The "Dirty Business" of Sewage Sludge 
the City of Detroit and Employees of Synagro Technologies 
in the F.B.I.'s Sights Amid Bribery and Other Criminal Charges

The sewage sludge disposal contract that was approved last year by the Detroit City Council - giving the city's lucrative sewage sludge disposal business to Houston, Texas based Synagro Technologies - has been rescinded by the Detroit City Council after a federal investigation led by the F.B.I. has led to bribery . The council voted 5-4 in November 2007 to award Synagro Technologies Inc., based in Houston, Texas, a contract to handle the city's processed sewage for close to $47 million a year.

Synagro Technologies is a wholly- owned subsidiary of the Carlyle Group, one of the world’s largest private equity firms, with more than $82 billion under management.  Carlyle has operations located in 21 countries and have close ties to the former George W. Bush administration.  Several years ago, Carlyle took Synagro Technologies private thereby shielding Synagro Technologies from public scrutiny. Synagro Technologies is a company that states on its website, that it; serves  municipal and industrial water and wastewater facilities and operates in 33 states.  Synagro also states that "After two decades and many acquisitions, we’ve become the country’s leading independent, full-service provider of "residuals management" services to municipal and industrial facilities.

The term "residuals management," like "biosolids" and compost, is an industry buzzword for the reality the industry would rather not use, which in reality, is "sewage sludge."  In fact, the website addresses:  www.ResidualsManagement.com   and  www.Biosolids.com  are owned by Synagro Technologies and both of these domain names leads to their company's websites.  

Synagro Technologies lobbied the city for seven years in attempting to land the 25 year, $1.2 Billion contract for the city's sewage sludge contract.  Synagro Technologies offered cash to community groups, enlisted the support of pastors from local churches, and other community leaders in their quest to land this lucrative contract. An outspoken community activist said he was approached by an agent for Synagro Technologies and offered "financial assistance" in exchange for writing letters and testifying before City Council in support of a $47 million sludge hauling and disposal contract. Ernest Johnson, executive director of the Detroit Community Coalition said that Synagro Technologies attempted to "recruit" his help in swaying the city council to approve the sewage sludge contract for Synagro. However, Mr. Johnson said he failed to see the benefit of Synagro Technologies being awarded the contract, stating; "that wasn't the sort of thing we would do because it wasn't in anyone's best interest." 

The proposal by Synagro Technologies to Ernest Johnson was one of many attempts by Synagro to lobby or influence community leaders.  Church pastors that Synagro deemed had influence were also lobbied for their support of Synagro. Synagro was lining up people who had no interest in that part of the city," said Johnson, who said, "the amount of compensation was only a few thousand dollars at most. It didn't make sense to me." 

According to a letter from Synagro Technologies that is dated Sept. 17, 2007, Synagro Technologies promised more than $50,000 annually to community projects once the facility was complete. Synagro's plan called for building a new, "cutting-edge" incinerator to burn the sludge. While the incinerator was being built, the company learned of the F.B.I. investigation and stopped construction. 

On  July 21, 2008, Synagro Technologies' President Robert C. Boucher Jr. sent a letter to the Detroit City Council, just one day before the Council was expected to consider rescinding the sewage sludge recycling contract it awarded to Synagro Technologies.  In the letter to the council, Boucher asked the council to hold off taking action until the investigation by the F.B.I. was complete.  Synagro Technologies suspended their Vice President James Rosendall and the contractor Rayford Jackson after Boucher learned of the criminal investigations by the F.B.I.  Boucher's letter to the City Council read, in part; “I understand that the ongoing federal investigation has created a difficult environment in which this issue is being discussed and debated, but I believe it is important that you have the results of the investigation before considering taking any action.  I would encourage you to wait for all the facts to come out and to consider the benefits to the city, and particularly to the residents on the southwest side, before taking any action on this contract.”

The F.B.I. has been investigating whether council members, staff and departmental personnel were bribed for their support of the contract, which was approved in November 2007.  Detroit City Councilwoman JoAnn Watson proposed rescinding the contract after learning the price Synagro paid to buy Minergy Detroit LLC – the company that initially proposed recycling the sewage sludge in 1998 – dropped from $3 million to $2 million because the deal was approved before Dec. 31, 2007. The city council approved the contract Nov. 20, 2007. 

Synagro Technologies' Chief Executive for Michigan, James Rosendall pled guilty to conspiracy to bribe unnamed city officials in Detroit, over a period of seven years.  Synagro Technologies' Rosendall, for seven years, tried to win a $1.2 billion contract for Synagro Technologies, for handling the city's lucrative sewage sludge disposal business.

Rosendall's guilty plea with the federal government, and his cooperation with the F.B.I.'s investigation implies upcoming indictments against others. In the federal indictment to which Synagro Technologies' James Rosendall pled guilty, he is referred to as “Defendant #1. 

 

Do you REALLY know what's in your 
glass of Florida orange juice???

Is your orange juice grown with sewage sludge that is applied as a "fertilizer" to many orange trees, orchards and farms throughout Florida? Yes, there is a very good chance this is the case.

Did you know that about 60% of New York City's sewage sludge is "pelletized" by a company called Synagro?  Synagro is located in Houston, Texas.

Companies like Synagro - even the E.P.A. - will probably state that it isn't "sewage sludge" from our toilets and wastewater treatment plants that are being applied to our food crops, farms, agricultural lands and lawns and gardens. They will say it's "fertilizer" or "biosolids," not "sewage sludge."

Synagro Technologies is based in Houston, Texas - Synagro owns and operates six "sewage sludge to fertilizer" plants in the U.S.  These six plants are located in; Sacramento, California, Pinellas County, Florida, Honolulu, Hawaii, Baltimore, Maryland, Hagerstown, Maryland, New York, New York.

In New York city, they own a company called the New York Organic Fertilizer Company (NYOFCO) which is located in the Bronx.  There in the Bronx, at their plant, they "pelletize" the sewage sludge from New York city's wastewater treatment plants.  This pelletized sewage sludge is sent to Florida and used as "fertilizer" on many of the citrus groves (not just oranges, but also lemons, grapefruit, etc.) and other agricultural farms and operations throughout Florida.

Yes, some of Florida's "finest" orchards and agricultural lands are "fertilized" with New York city's finest "fertilizer," straight from the toilets and wastewater treatment plants in New York city to Florida's fruit orchards and farms.

The following toxic soup mix of ingredients were found by the E.P.A. in the sewage sludge of 35 wastewater treatment plants that the E.P.A. tested.  Some companies have dared to rename sewage sludge or biosolids as "fertilizer" and are applying this toxic soup mix to our food crops, farmlands and lawns and gardens!  And you wonder why cancer is on the increase?!?

Why are we "fertilizing" our crops and food with the following known pollutants, carcinogens, pathogens, found in sewage sludge/biosolids and some companies "fertilizers?!?"  

Metals:  

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs):

Semivolatile organics:

Inorganic anions:

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), including the Tetra, Hexa, Penta, and Deca congeners:

Antibiotics and their degradation products, disinfectants, and other antimicrobials:

Other drugs:

Steroids

Hormones:

 

Why Are We Allowing SEWAGE SLUDGE or BIOSOLIDS
to be applied as "Fertilizer" Our Agricutural Lands and Food Crops?

How Are All of These Chemicals, Drugs and 
Toxic Pollutants Ending Up in our Food Supplies?!?!

Could it be that the U.S. EPA is "100 times more lax" 
in regulating Sewage Sludge than Every European Country? 

And, the U.S. EPA's "solution to pollution" is to allow these Toxic Chemicals, Drugs and Pollutants to be applied to our food crops?!?

No, that couldn't happen here in the U.S., where the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Agriculture protect our food supplies!  Yes, it can happen here, and has been happening - for decades!

 

More about "Sewage Sludge"

Sewage Sludge has been defined as a "viscous, semisolid mixture of bacteria comprised of virus-laden organic matter, toxic metals, synthetic organic chemicals, and settled solids removed from domestic and industrial waste water at a sewage treatment plant." 

Sewage sludge is the final product of a Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTW) also called "wastewater treatment plants," wastewater treatment systems," or "sewage treatment plants."  After treatment breaks down the organic matter and kills disease-causing organisms, the remaining fine particles ultimately become "sewage sludge." Although much of the water has been removed, sewage sludge for application to farmland is still mostly water and resembles mud.

At least 60,000 toxic substances and chemical compounds have been found in sewage sludge.  Researchers and the American Society of Civil Engineers have determined that sewage sludge  contains the following toxins: 

The U.S. General Accounting Office determined in 1994 that "the full extent of the radioactive contamination of sewage sludge, ash and related by-products nationwide is unknown." Most of the radioactive material is flushed down the drain by hospitals, businesses and decontamination laundries, a practice which has contaminated at least nine sewage treatment plants in the past decade. 

In 1977, the E.P.A. estimated that by 1990 POTW's (publicly owned treatment works) would generate 10 million tons of sewage sludge per year.  Today there are about 15,000 publicly-owned publicly owned treatment works (wastewater treatment plants) in the United States, discharging approximately 28 billion gallons per day of treated wastewater into lakes, streams and waterways. Before treatment, this wastewater contains over a million pounds of hazardous components. POTW's use heat, chemicals and bacterial treatments to detoxify 42 percent of these components through biodegradation. Another 25 percent escapes into the atmosphere, and 19 percent is discharged into lakes and streams. The remaining 14 percent--approximately 28 million pounds per year--winds up in sewage sludge. 

Once generated at a POTW, sewage sludge must be disposed of.  Typically, sewage sludge is disposed of in one of the following methods: 


More About "Sewage Sludge"

Every time you flush your toilet or clean a paintbrush in your sink, you may be unwittingly contributing fertilizer used to grow the food in your pantry. Beginning in the early 1990s, millions of tons of potentially-toxic sewage sludge have been applied to millions of acres of America's farmland as food crop fertilizer. Selling sewage sludge to farmers for use on cropland has been a favored government program for disposing of the unwanted byproducts from municipal wastewater treatment plants. But sewage sludge is anything but the benign fertilizer the Environmental Protection Agency says it is.

Sewage sludge includes anything that is flushed, poured, or dumped into our nation's wastewater system--a vast, toxic mix of wastes collected from countless sources, from homes to chemical industries to hospitals. The sludge being spread on our crop fields is a dangerous stew of heavy metals, industrial compounds, viruses, bacteria, drug residues, and radioactive material. In fact, hundreds of people have fallen ill after being exposed to sewage sludge fertilizer--suffering such symptoms as respiratory distress, headaches, nausea, rashes, reproductive complications, cysts, and tumors.

The compounds added and formed during the sewage treatment process create an unknown and unpredictable product, one that should fall under the category of hazardous waste. Monitoring and regulating the content of these dangerous combinations has fallen terrifyingly short of protecting public health and the environment. Currently, no records are kept on the date or location of these lethal land applications, allowing these toxins to enter the soil of our nation's cropland untraced. 

Despite the apparent danger of using sludge in food production, federal regulations are woefully lax. The EPA monitors only nine of the thousands of pathogens commonly found in sludge; the agency rarely performs site inspections of sewage treatment plants; and it almost never inspects the farms that use sludge fertilizer. Regulations governing the use and disposal of sewage sludge have been criticized by both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Research Council, as well as numerous medical professionals, engineers, and activists.

The information above is from the Center for Food Safety (CFS) - The CFS seeks to end the use of sewage sludge as an agricultural fertilizer--first through an immediate moratorium on its application to croplands. CFS strongly suggests that the government launch an independent investigation into all specific claims that sludge has caused harm to people, animals, and the environment. 


The Following information about sewage sludge is from the U.S. EPA website:

http://earth1.epa.gov/waterscience/biosolids/tnsss-overview.html


Regulation of Sewage Sludge

EPA regulations for sewage sludge disposal and use—the Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge at Section 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 503—establish numeric limits, management practices, and operational standards to protect public health and the environment from adverse effects of chemical and microbiological pollutants in sewage sludge. Sewage sludge is the solid, semisolid, or liquid organic material that results from the treatment of domestic wastewater by municipal wastewater treatment plants, also known as publicly owned treatment works or POTWs. The terms sewage sludge and biosolids are used by EPA interchangeably, but others often use the term biosolids to describe sewage sludge that has had additional processing for land application. The Part 503 regulations set national standards for use or disposal of sewage sludge. Regulatory options include:

  1. land application (e.g., to fertilize crops or reclaim mined lands);

  2. landfilling or surface disposal; and

  3. incineration.

States may adopt additional or more stringent requirements for the land application of sewage sludge.

Production and Treatment of Sewage Sludge

Municipal wastewater, or sewage, refers to water that has been used in urban and suburban area homes or businesses for washing, bathing, and flushing toilets. Municipal wastewater also may include water from industrial sources. To remove pollutants resulting from industrial processes, industrial contributors to municipal wastewater systems may treat the wastewater before it is discharged to a wastewater treatment system. The wastewater is usually conveyed via a sewer system to a centralized wastewater treatment plant (e.g., publicly owned treatment works, or POTW). At the POTW, the wastewater passes through a series of treatment steps that may use physical, biological, or chemical processes designed to remove pollutants.

The treatment steps may include preliminary treatment, primary treatment, secondary treatment, and tertiary treatment. Preliminary treatment removes large objects, such as sticks, paper, sand and grit, which are typically landfilled and do not become part of sewage sludge. Primary treatment involves gravity sedimentation for removing solid material that settles out and flotation processes that remove oil, grease, wood, and vegetative matter. Secondary treatment is a biological process in which naturally occurring microorganisms are used to degrade (break down or digest) suspended and dissolved organic material in the wastewater. Tertiary treatment includes steps designed to further reduce plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), suspended solids, or biological oxygen demand in the wastewater. Preliminary, primary, secondary, and sometimes tertiary treatments are often combined in any given POTW.

The above information is from the U.S. EPA website.

 

Sewage Sludge - How Much of It Is There & How Do Other Countries Resolve the Sewage Sludge Problem?

Sewage Sludge generation rates (According to the U.S. EPA)

Amount of Sewage Sludge Generated Every Year & How it is Treated

Country

Amount
(million tons dry solids/yr)

Disposal method (%)

Application
to land

Land
filling

Incineration

Other

Austria

320

13

56

31

0

Belgium

75

31

56

9

4

Denmark

130

37

33

28

2

France

700

50

50

0

0

Germany

2500

25

63

12

0

Greece

15

3

97

0

0

Ireland

24

28

18

0

54

Italy

800

34

55

11

0

Luxembourg

15

81

18

0

1

Holland

282

44

53

3

0

Portugal

200

80

13

0

7

Spain

280

10

50

10

30

Sweden

180

45

55

0

0

Switzerland

215

50

30

20

0

United Kingdom 

1107

55

8

7

30

United States

6900

41

17

22

20

United States stands alone

When it comes to spreading sludge on agricultural land, the United States has the most relaxed standards for metals among developed nations. Standards for heavy metals are up to 100 times higher than any other country has ever proposed. To make this comparison, U.S. standards, expressed as cumulative loadings, or total permissible additions of sludge on a metric tons per hectare basis, have to be compared with European standards, expressed in terms of concentration in treated soil. Although these comparisons require an assumption about how far down into the soil the sludge is mixed, the differences between the standards are so large as to overwhelm any uncertainty in the conversion.

Everyone agrees that sludge contains toxic metals, although at what level and when such metals might cause harmful effects are largely unknown. In most cases, the metals are not a problem now, but they could be an issue sometime in the future, between 50 and 500 years hence. Many European scientists favor the low estimate, whereas many U.S. scientists favor the high one. Depending on who is right, farmers could be risking potentially dreadful consequences because once damaged, soil could be almost impossible to fix. Faced with these questions, EPA scientists decided that they already knew enough to make some decisions. “We know more than enough to say with confidence that high-quality sludge can be used practically forever on farmland without any adverse effects,” says Rufus Chaney, a U.S. Department of Agriculture soil scientist in Beltsville, MD, who is one of EPA's principal science advisors and a vigorous champion of the U.S. approach.

Heavy Metal Contaminant Standards

There is - at present - no agreement, standards or international guidelines regarding 
the maximum allowable concentrations of various metals in sewage sludge.

Country

Year

Cd

Cu

Cr

Ni

Pb

Zn

Hg

European Community

1986

1–3

50–140

100–150

30–75

50–300

150–300

1–1.5

France 

1988

2

100

150 

50

100

300

1

Germany

1992

1.5

60

100 

50

100

200

1

Italy

 

3

100

150 

50

100

300

-

Spain

1990

1

50

100 

30

50

150

1

The Netherlands

Clean soil reference values

 

0.8

36

100 

35

85

140

0.3

Intervention values

 

12

190

380 

210

530

720

10

United Kingdom

1989

3

135

400

75

300

200

1

Denmark

1990

0.5

40

30 

15

40

100

0.5

Finland

1995

0.5

100

200 

60

60

150

0.2

Norway

 

1

50

100 

30

50

150

1

Sweden

 

0.5

40

30 

15

40

100

0.5

United States

1993

20

750

1500 

210

150

1400

8

How Do We Handle Resolve the Sewage Sludge Pollution Problem?

Certainly NOT by placing on our agricultural lands where our food is grown!

We believe the best way to handle the sewage sludge pollution problem is through the "waste to energy" solution of Biomass Gasification!

========================================================================

How ARE All of These Chemicals, Drugs and Toxic Pollutants Ending Up in our Food Supplies?!?!  Could it be that the U.S. EPA is "100 times more lax" in regulating Sewage Sludge than Every European Country, and the U.S. EPA's "solution to pollution" is to allow these Toxic Chemicals, Drugs and Pollutants to be applied to our food crops?!?

 


The Following Chemicals, Drugs, and Toxic Pollutants were found in a sampling of the Sewage Sludge Taken from 35 Publicly Owned Treatment Works in the U.S.

And typical of the Sewage Sludge Being Applied to our Agricultural Farmlands.... and ending up in our food supplies!
 
Analytes Included in the TNSSS, by Analyte Group

Analyte Group

Analyte

Metals

  • Aluminum

  • Manganese

  • Antimony

  • Mercury*

  • Arsenic*

  • Molybdenum*

  • Barium

  • Nickel*

  • Beryllium

  • Phosphorus

  • Boron

  • Selenium*

  • Cadmium*

  • Silver

  • Calcium

  • Sodium

  • Chromium*

  • Thallium

  • Cobalt

  • Tin

  • Copper*

  • Titanium

  • Iron

  • Vanadium

  • Lead*

  • Yttrium

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc*

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

  • Benzo(a)pyrene

  • 2-Methylnaphthalene

  • Fluoranthene

  • Pyrene

Semivolatile organics

  • Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate

  • 4-Chloroaniline

Inorganic anions

  • Fluoride

  • Water-extractable phosphorus

  • Nitrate

  • Nitrite

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs),
including the Tetra, Hexa, Penta, and Deca congeners

  • 2,2',4,4'-TeBDE
    (BDE-47)

  • 2,2',4,4',5,5'-HxBDE
    (BDE-153)

  • 2,2',4,4',5-PeBDE
    (BDE-99)

  • 2,2',3,3',4,4',5,5',6,6'-DeBDE
    (BDE-209)

Antibiotics and their degradation products,
disinfectants, and other antimicrobials

  • Anhydrochlortetracycline

  • Ofloxacin

  • Anhydrotetracycline

  • Ormetoprim

  • Azithromycin

  • Oxacillin

  • Carbadox

  • Oxolinic acid

  • Cefotaxime

  • Oxytetracycline

  • Chlortetracycline

  • Penicillin G

  • Ciprofloxacin

  • Penicillin V

  • Clarithromycin

  • Roxithromycin

  • Clinafloxacin

  • Sarafloxacin

  • Cloxcillin

  • Sulfachloropyridazine

  • Demeclocycline

  • Sulfadiazine

  • Doxycycline

  • Sulfadimethoxine

  • Enrofloxacin

  • Sulfamerazine

  • 4-Epianhydrochlortetracycline

  • Sulfamethazine

  • 4-Epianhydrotetracycline

  • Sulfamethizole

  • 4-Epichlortetracycline

  • Sulfamethoxazole

  • 4-Epioxytetracycline

  • Sulfanilamide

  • 4-Epitetracycline

  • Sulfathiazole

  • Erythromycin

  • Tetracycline

  • Flumequine

  • Triclocarban

  • Isochlortetracycline

  • Triclosan

  • Lincomycin

  • Trimethoprim

  • Lomefloxacin

  • Tylosin

  • Minocycline

  • Virginiamycin

  • Norfloxacin

Other drugs

  • 1,7-Dimethylxanthine

  • Diphenhydramine

  • Acetaminophen

  • Fluoxetine

  • Albuterol

  • Gemfibrozil

  • Caffeine

  • Ibuprofen

  • Carbamazepine

  • Metformin

  • Cimetidine

  • Miconazole

  • Codeine

  • Naproxen

  • Cotinine

  • Norgestimate

  • Dehydronifedipine

  • Ranitidine

  • Digoxigenin

  • Thiabendazole

  • Digoxin

  • Warfarin

  • Diltiazem

Steroids

  • Campesterol

  • Epi-coprostanol

  • Cholestanol

  • Ergosterol

  • Cholesterol

  • β-Sitosterol

  • Coprostanol

  • β-Stigmastanol

  • Desmosterol

  • Stigmasterol

Hormones

  • Androstenedione

  • Estriol

  • Androsterone

  • Estrone

  • 17α-Dihydroequilin

  • 17α-Ethynyl estradiol

  • Equilenin

  • Norethindrone

  • Equilin

  • Norgestrel

  • 17α-Estradiol

  • Progesterone

  • 17β-Estradiol

  • Testosterone

  • β-Estradiol-3-benzoate


Biosolids and Sewage Sludge

Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Report

Overview

January 2009; EPA 822-R-08-014

The Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey is a valuable step in advancing the understanding of what is present in treated sewage sludge. The information from the survey provides important input for EPA and others to use in evaluating biosolids generated by the nation's publicly owned treatment works. It also fulfills an important commitment under the agency's four pronged strategy for pharmaceuticals and personal care products by providing the first national estimates of which pharmaceuticals, steroids and hormones may be present in sewage sludge and at what concentrations.

EPA is committed to taking action and working with our partners to ensure sewage sludge is managed in a manner that protects human health and the environment.

Background

Introduction

Section 405(d) of the Clean Water Act (CWA) requires the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify and regulate toxic pollutants that may be present in biosolids at levels of concern for public health and the environment. This report provides an overview of the recently conducted Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS). The objective of the survey was to determine which analytes (or chemicals) were present in sewage sludge and obtain national estimates of the concentrations of selected analytes. The information will help the Agency in assessing if exposures may be occurring and whether those levels in sewage sludge may be of concern.

The sampling effort collected sewage sludge from 74 randomly selected publicly owned treatment works in 35 states. Samples were collected in 2006 and 2007. The TNSSS Technical Report provides results for 145 analytes, including:

Some analytes were found in all 84 samples, while others were found in none or only a few of the sewage sludge samples.

The results presented in the TNSSS Technical Report do not imply that the concentrations for any analyte are of particular concern to EPA. EPA will use these results to assess potential exposure to these contaminants from sewage sludge.

Contents of this Overview Report

This document provides an overview of two reports that together make up the TNSSS report: 1) Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Sampling and Analysis Technical Report ("Technical Report"), and 2) Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Statistical Analysis Report ("Statistical Report"). This overview report addresses the following topics:

Regulation of Sewage Sludge

EPA regulations for sewage sludge disposal and use—the Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge at Section 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations Part 503—establish numeric limits, management practices, and operational standards to protect public health and the environment from adverse effects of chemical and microbiological pollutants in sewage sludge. Sewage sludge is the solid, semisolid, or liquid organic material that results from the treatment of domestic wastewater by municipal wastewater treatment plants, also known as publicly owned treatment works or POTWs. The terms sewage sludge and biosolids are used by EPA interchangeably, but others often use the term biosolids to describe sewage sludge that has had additional processing for land application. The Part 503 regulations set national standards for use or disposal of sewage sludge. Regulatory options include:

  1. land application (e.g., to fertilize crops or reclaim mined lands);

  2. landfilling or surface disposal; and

  3. incineration.

States may adopt additional or more stringent requirements for the land application of sewage sludge.

Production and Treatment of Sewage Sludge

Municipal wastewater, or sewage, refers to water that has been used in urban and suburban area homes or businesses for washing, bathing, and flushing toilets. Municipal wastewater also may include water from industrial sources. To remove pollutants resulting from industrial processes, industrial contributors to municipal wastewater systems may treat the wastewater before it is discharged to a wastewater treatment system. The wastewater is usually conveyed via a sewer system to a centralized wastewater treatment plant (e.g., publicly owned treatment works, or POTW). At the POTW, the wastewater passes through a series of treatment steps that may use physical, biological, or chemical processes designed to remove pollutants.

The treatment steps may include preliminary treatment, primary treatment, secondary treatment, and tertiary treatment. Preliminary treatment removes large objects, such as sticks, paper, sand and grit, which are typically landfilled and do not become part of sewage sludge. Primary treatment involves gravity sedimentation for removing solid material that settles out and flotation processes that remove oil, grease, wood, and vegetative matter. Secondary treatment is a biological process in which naturally occurring microorganisms are used to degrade (break down or digest) suspended and dissolved organic material in the wastewater. Tertiary treatment includes steps designed to further reduce plant nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus), suspended solids, or biological oxygen demand in the wastewater. Preliminary, primary, secondary, and sometimes tertiary treatments are often combined in any given POTW.

Previous EPA Sewage Sludge Surveys

EPA has conducted three previous surveys for purposes of identifying contaminants in sewage sludge. In 1982, EPA conducted the "40 City Study" to develop information on the fate and effects of priority pollutants in wastewater treatment plants and estimates of pollutant concentrations in sewage sludge. In 1988, EPA conducted the National Sewage Sludge Survey to gather information on sewage sludge use and disposal practices and to obtain updated information on the concentration of over 400 pollutants in the Nation's sewage sludge. This information was used in establishing the Part 503 biosolids use and disposal regulations and in setting numeric standards for ten metals and operational standards for pathogens in biosolids.

In 2001, EPA conducted a survey to obtain updated national estimates of dioxins and dioxin-like compounds in sewage sludge managed by land application. Results from this survey helped EPA conclude that neither numerical standards nor additional management practices are needed to protect human health and the environment from reasonably anticipated adverse effects from dioxin and dioxin-like compounds in sewage sludge that is land-applied. EPA determined that the incremental risk from exposure to dioxins in land-applied biosolids is below levels of concern.

EPA conducted the current TNSSS to obtain updated concentration values for some pollutants previously evaluated and to obtain information on whether certain contaminants of emerging concern may be present in sewage sludge and at what levels. EPA continues to evaluate pollutants that may be present in biosolids to ensure that there are effective and protective management options in place.


Summary of Survey Methodology

Selection of Pollutants

Section 405(d) of the CWA requires EPA to review existing sewage sludge regulations at least every two years (i.e., a biennial review). The purpose of such reviews is to identify additional toxic pollutants that may be present in sewage sludge and, if appropriate, to promulgate regulations for those pollutants consistent with the requirements set forth in the CWA. In conducting the biennial review for 2003, EPA identified a subset of 15 pollutants that needed further evaluation. EPA subsequently reduced the list of pollutants to nine—barium, beryllium, manganese, silver, fluoranthene, pyrene, 4-chloroaniline, nitrate, and nitrite—based on an updated biosolids exposure and hazard assessment. EPA decided that updated concentration data were needed to conduct a more refined risk evaluation and risk characterization for these nine pollutants.

Given the national scope of the survey, EPA expanded the list of analytes to reflect the Agency's interest in collecting concentration data for other chemicals. The expanded list included 24 additional metals that could be analyzed at little extra cost at the same time as the four metals (barium, beryllium, manganese, and silver) included in the list of nine pollutants above; molybdenum because of the Agency's interest in determining the need for a revised numeric standard for it in land-applied biosolids; and other analytes because of their widespread use and emerging concern. The latter category included:

The table in Appendix A provides a complete list of the analytes included in the TNSSS.

Inclusion of analytes in the TNSSS does not reflect a determination that their presence in sewage sludge adversely affects human health or the environment. Rather, EPA decided that updated or new concentration data were needed to assess exposure and help in evaluating whether the levels of these pollutants in sewage sludge may pose environmental or human health concerns.

Selection of POTWs

For this survey, EPA focused its efforts on POTWs that treat more than one million gallons of wastewater per day (MGD). This group of facilities collectively treats approximately 94 percent of the wastewater in the nation. To be eligible for the survey, EPA also required that a POTW be located in the contiguous United States and employ secondary treatment or better. EPA identified POTWs meeting the criteria from information in the 2004 Clean Water Needs Survey and the 2002 version of the Permit Compliance System. From the 3,337 POTWs that met the criteria in either data source, EPA statistically selected 74 facilities for the survey and collected biosolids samples from those facilities. Whether the facility land applies the treated sewage sludge or disposes it via incineration or surface disposal was not a consideration for selecting a facility for inclusion in the survey. By using statistical methods, the concentration measurements can be extrapolated to the entire population of 3,337 POTWs.

Sampling Methodology

As noted above, EPA collected samples of the final sewage sludge produced at each of the 74 POTWs. Final sewage sludge, for purposes of the TNSSS, is defined as the liquid, solid, or semi-solid residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment works, receiving secondary treatment or better, and which may include sewage sludge processed to meet land application standards.

EPA collected a single sewage sludge sample from all but ten facilities. EPA collected two samples at the remaining ten facilities for quality control purposes or because the facility had more than one treatment system.

From an analytical methods standpoint, sewage sludge is a challenging matrix because it is not uniform in its composition or ratio of water to solids. In addition, EPA needed to accurately identify and measure the target chemicals in the presence of the large number and types of chemicals present in the sewage. The preparation of a sewage sample to conduct chemical analysis of its content using highly sophisticated instruments, such as a Liquid Chromatographs in tandem with two Mass Spectrometers (LC/MS/MS), is extremely complex.

The survey used both well-established, multi-laboratory validated EPA procedures as well as three analytical methods that were developed or updated for the survey. The two new methods are single laboratory validated methods for pharmaceuticals (EPA Method 1694), steroids and hormones (EPA Method 1698). The multi-laboratory validated method for flame retardants (EPA Method 1614) was updated for the survey.


Survey Results

As noted previously, the TNSSS results are described in two EPA reports that together constitute the TNSSS:

  1. Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Sampling and Analysis Technical Report ("Technical Report") (PDF) (88 pp., 359 K; EPA-822-R-08-016) and

  2. Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Statistical Analysis Report ("Statistical Report") (PDF) (58 pp., 373 K; EPA-822-R-08-018)

The Technical Report includes the number of samples in which each analyte was reported, along with minimum and maximum concentrations for each analyte. To ensure consistency, all sample results are reported on a dry-weight basis.

The Statistical Report describes the survey design and national estimates derived from the concentration data. For 34 analytes measured in the survey, the Statistical Report discusses an in-depth statistical analysis and presents nationally-representative estimates of the 50th percentile (i.e., median) of the underlying distribution of measurements across POTWs, as well as the 90th, 95th, 98th, and 99th percentiles. The characterization of specific percentiles is useful for EPA's subsequent evaluation of exposure and risk.

Briefly, the survey found:

It is not appropriate to speculate on the significance of the results until a proper evaluation has been completed and reviewed.

Next Steps

EPA plans to evaluate the pollutants identified by the survey as being present in sewage sludge. As its first priority, using the survey information, EPA has begun assessing the nine pollutants identified from the 2003 biennial review as needing updated concentration information and molybdenum to determine whether additional action may be necessary. In addition to the survey information, EPA will evaluate other available data and conduct exposure and hazard assessments for these pollutants if sufficient data are available. Some of the information generally needed to conduct exposure and hazard assessment includes:

Later this year, EPA expects to initiate evaluations of other pollutants in the survey that may warrant further consideration. The evaluations will depend on the availability of data needed to conduct the evaluations.

 

Analytes Included in the TNSSS

Analytes Included in the TNSSS, by Analyte Group

Analyte Group

Analyte

Metals

  • Aluminum

  • Manganese

  • Antimony

  • Mercury*

  • Arsenic*

  • Molybdenum*

  • Barium

  • Nickel*

  • Beryllium

  • Phosphorus

  • Boron

  • Selenium*

  • Cadmium*

  • Silver

  • Calcium

  • Sodium

  • Chromium*

  • Thallium

  • Cobalt

  • Tin

  • Copper*

  • Titanium

  • Iron

  • Vanadium

  • Lead*

  • Yttrium

  • Magnesium

  • Zinc*

Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)

  • Benzo(a)pyrene

  • 2-Methylnaphthalene

  • Fluoranthene

  • Pyrene

Semivolatile organics

  • Bis (2-Ethylhexyl) phthalate

  • 4-Chloroaniline

Inorganic anions

  • Fluoride

  • Water-extractable phosphorus

  • Nitrate

  • Nitrite

Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs),
including the Tetra, Hexa, Penta, and Deca congeners

  • 2,2',4,4'-TeBDE
    (BDE-47)

  • 2,2',4,4',5,5'-HxBDE
    (BDE-153)

  • 2,2',4,4',5-PeBDE
    (BDE-99)

  • 2,2',3,3',4,4',5,5',6,6'-DeBDE
    (BDE-209)

Antibiotics and their degradation products,
disinfectants, and other antimicrobials

  • Anhydrochlortetracycline

  • Ofloxacin

  • Anhydrotetracycline

  • Ormetoprim

  • Azithromycin

  • Oxacillin

  • Carbadox

  • Oxolinic acid

  • Cefotaxime

  • Oxytetracycline

  • Chlortetracycline

  • Penicillin G

  • Ciprofloxacin

  • Penicillin V

  • Clarithromycin

  • Roxithromycin

  • Clinafloxacin

  • Sarafloxacin

  • Cloxcillin

  • Sulfachloropyridazine

  • Demeclocycline

  • Sulfadiazine

  • Doxycycline

  • Sulfadimethoxine

  • Enrofloxacin

  • Sulfamerazine

  • 4-Epianhydrochlortetracycline

  • Sulfamethazine

  • 4-Epianhydrotetracycline

  • Sulfamethizole

  • 4-Epichlortetracycline

  • Sulfamethoxazole

  • 4-Epioxytetracycline

  • Sulfanilamide

  • 4-Epitetracycline

  • Sulfathiazole

  • Erythromycin

  • Tetracycline

  • Flumequine

  • Triclocarban

  • Isochlortetracycline

  • Triclosan

  • Lincomycin

  • Trimethoprim

  • Lomefloxacin

  • Tylosin

  • Minocycline

  • Virginiamycin

  • Norfloxacin

Other drugs

  • 1,7-Dimethylxanthine

  • Diphenhydramine

  • Acetaminophen

  • Fluoxetine

  • Albuterol

  • Gemfibrozil

  • Caffeine

  • Ibuprofen

  • Carbamazepine

  • Metformin

  • Cimetidine

  • Miconazole

  • Codeine

  • Naproxen

  • Cotinine

  • Norgestimate

  • Dehydronifedipine

  • Ranitidine

  • Digoxigenin

  • Thiabendazole

  • Digoxin

  • Warfarin

  • Diltiazem

Steroids

  • Campesterol

  • Epi-coprostanol

  • Cholestanol

  • Ergosterol

  • Cholesterol

  • β-Sitosterol

  • Coprostanol

  • β-Stigmastanol

  • Desmosterol

  • Stigmasterol

Hormones

  • Androstenedione

  • Estriol

  • Androsterone

  • Estrone

  • 17α-Dihydroequilin

  • 17α-Ethynyl estradiol

  • Equilenin

  • Norethindrone

  • Equilin

  • Norgestrel

  • 17α-Estradiol

  • Progesterone

  • 17β-Estradiol

  • Testosterone

  • β-Estradiol-3-benzoate

 

Sewage Sludge Links

Sewage Sludge is Not Compost
EPA proposes a rule change that says it is, March 1, 2004

EPA Petitioned by 73 farm, labor, and environmental organizations to stop the land application of sewage sludge, October 7, 2003 (pdf)

Sludge Petition Press Release, October 7, 2003: EPA Petitioned to Stop land Application of Sewage Sludge

Sludge Petition Press Release, November 7, 2003: EPA Admits Lack of Certainty on Safety of Sewage Sludge

EPA's Sewage Sludge Petition Response, December 22, 2003 (pdf)

Sludge Petition Press Release, December 31, 2003: EPA Refuses to Protect the Food Supply from Hazardous Sewage Sludge

Article in the News Leader, Springfield, Missouri, EPA won't ban use of treated waste despite health concerns
By Greg Wright, Gannett News Service, January 1, 2004

The Sludge Report
Article by Joel Bleifuss, In These Times, April 12, 2002

On April 3, 2002, the EPA's Office of Inspector General (OIG) officially released a report on EPA's sewage sludge rule (OIG sludge report). The OIG identified over ten major problem areas under the current rule and warned that "EPA cannot assure the public that current land application practices [of sewage sludge] are protective of human health and the environment."

Articles about sludge, in the ReSource Institute library.

ReSource editorials on sludge
What is in a Name
Ockham's Razor
Something Stinks in the EPA
Toxic Sludge and Fertilizer Conference Press Release
Stopping Sludge
Radioactive Sludge in Denver
Can You Clean-Up Sludge? A Correspondence
Organic Food and Sewage Sludge
Laundering Toxic Waste

The National Sludge Alliance calls on Congress to halt the land disposal of sewage sludge, an October 15, 2001 Press Release from the National Sludge Alliance, a coalition of grassroots organizations opposed to spreading sludge on land.

Toxic Avengers: EPA is pushing hazardous sludge as a fertilizer and the locals are fighting back, In These Times, by Laura Orlando, February 1999.

Sustainable Sanitation: A Global Health Challenge, Dollars and Sense, by Laura Orlando, May 2001.

A Terrible Waste Gets a Good Look, a story about the death of Tony Behun. Pittsburgh Post-Gazzette, June 11, 2000, by Tom Gibb.

EPA's Secret Role in Toxic Sludge, by Sheila R. Cherry, Insight Magazine, July 24, 2000

Information on sewage sludge from the Cornell Waste Management Institute, including the document, "A Case for Caution: Recommendations for the Land Application of Sewage Sludge," 2001 Sludge Application recommendations, scientific papers by Cornell faculty, and 82 questions and answers on sludge.

Rachel's Environmental Health Weekly: A new US Waste Policy Emerges, numbers 560 and 561; Excrement Happens, numbers 644 and 645; and Drugs in the Water, number 614; by Peter Montague.

On March 20, 2000, the USEPA Office of the Inspector General, in an Audit Report, found that "EPA cannot assure the public that current land application practices are protective of human health and the environment." This is a pdf file.

Congressional Hearings, March 22, 2000, "EPA's Sludge Rule: Closed Minds or Open Debate?" "The hearing will explore allegations that EPA scientists who disagree with EPA's science associated with the sludge rule were ignored or, worse, subjected to harassment. Even more disturbing are documented reports of intimidation directed at private citizens who express concerns about EPA sludge policies and the science behind those policies."

The Real Dirt on Sewage Sludge, by Wendy Priesnitz, Natural Life, November 1997.

The Sludge Hits the Fan
Chapter 8 from Toxic Sludge Is Good For You
John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton
Common Courage Press,1995.

PR Watch. Let Them Eat Sludge, by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton

C U R E (Citizens United for Responsible Environmentalism, Inc.) is a national, non-profit, education and research organization based in California that works on sludge and composting issues. The Hawaii Chapter of CURE has a web page with sludge links and information about their effots to stop sludge spreading on Maui.

Sewage Sludge homepage of the Pennsylvania Environmental Network

CQS's Health Alert: The Sludge Story

Information about the use of sludge in agriculture, in English and Swedish.

Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund

Sludge on Your Supper Table, Natural Life, August 23, 1999.

On The Ground: The Spreading of Toxic Sludge in Vermont. A 57 page report on Vermont sludge spreading, with references and recommendations, by Vermont PIRG.

Redefining Sludge: Activists search for answers about sludge and its impact on our food supply. The Workbook. A publication of the Southwest Research and Information Center. Summer 1998. P.O. Box 4524, 105 Stanford SE, Alburquerque, NM 87106. Tel 505 346-1455. Email: THEWORKBOOK@igc.org.

Press Release: 25 Environmental Groups Ask Harvard President Not to Allow Poisoning of the Medical School Quad Lawn, May 3, 2000.

Conference Proceedings. Dangers of Sludge: A Citizens Forum on Environmental and Health Concerns from Landspreading of Sewage and Paper Mill Sludges. November 1997. 51 pages. Order here.Sponsored by Citizens for a Future New Hampshire.

Links to information about factory farms and laundering of industrial waste in commercial fertilizers:

The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.

See, "Fear in the Fields: How Hazardous Wastes Become Fertilizer," Duff Wilson, Seattle Times.

The Why Files: Science Behind the News, Farm Fields: Ideal Resting Place for Toxic Waste? A summary of Duff Wilson's expose of recycling of industrial waste in commercial fertilizers.

Center for Rural Affairs
Corporate Farming.

ETC Group (formerly RAFI)

Center for Food Safety

 


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