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The National Sludge Alliance calls on Congress to halt the land disposal of
The National Sludge Alliance calls on Congress to halt the land application
of sewage sludge because current federal and state laws governing this
practice are not protective of human health, agricultural productivity, and the
environment. We call on Congress to do all in its power to protect public health
and safety and the environment by halting the land disposal of toxic
industrial waste-laden sludge that now includes plutonium and other atomic wastes on
any American land-farmland, gravel pits, deforested areas or stripped mines.
EPA has not done a peer-reviewed study that includes farmers and the general
public who are being exposed to toxic sludge. We call on Congress to end the
disposal of radioactive wastes to sewage treatment plants anywhere in the
country. In addition NSA calls for an end to taxpayer funding for the National
Biosolids Partnership a government backed PR group organized to promote the
dangerous practice of sludge land disposal, despite mounting evidence that the
policy is unsafe and despite widespread public opposition. The National
Sludge Alliance - a coalition of grassroots organizations opposed to spreading
sludge on land and to any reference to it as "fertilizer" - calls it an
unpredictable hazardous waste that must always be treated as a pollutant.
Under the leadership of Congressman Sensenbrenner, the full House Science
Committee hearings on March 22nd last year revealed a pattern of retaliation and
intimidation of whistleblower scientists within the EPA, a scientist from
Cornell, and from a California diary farmer. Further, the Inspector General's
Audit report entitled "Biosolids Management and Enforcement" said," the EPA
does not have an effective program for ensuring compliance with land
application (of sewage sludge) requirements of the Part 503 rules, issued by the
Office of Water. Accordingly, while EPA promotes the application, EPA cannot
assure the public that current land application practices are protective of human
health and the environment."
Specifically, NSA calls on Congress to prohibit land application of sludge
that contains pathogens and persistent pollutants, including radioactive waste.
These requests have become more urgent since the recent judicial decisionÊin
a federal whistleblower caseÊinvolving questions over whether plutonium and
other atomic wastes are safe fertilizer additives. Adrienne Anderson,
appointed to represent the sewage plant workers' safety and health concerns on the
Metro Water Reclamation District in Denver, Colorado was awarded nearly half a
million dollars in damages, including $150,000 in punitive damages, among
the largest punitive damage awards on record in whistleblower case law,
according to the National Whistleblower Center. Judge David W. DiNardi of Boston
concluded that the Metro Water Reclamation District had engaged in at least a
five-year campaign of illegal, retaliatoryÊand outrageousÊacts against Anderson
one its own board members who had publicly disclosed critically important
information, vital to occupational and public health.
The matter at issue involved the sewage districtÕs plan - since enacted,
unfortunately, despiteÊwidespread public controversy and unanimous citizen
opposition in public comments of record - flushing a plutonium-contaminated
Superfund Site in Colorado, the Lowry Landfill, to public sewers to a
non-NRC-licensed facility whose workers are not even protected under OSHA, for
redistribution as "fertilizer"on farm land growing crops for human consumption, and in
bagged material marketed commercially as "MetroGro", for use on home
gardens.ÊThis precedent setting permit to allowÊatomic bomb wastesÊto be discharged to
the sewage treatment plant will open the door for disposal of radioactive
wastes around the country in blatant disregard for public health and safety.
NSA alsoÊurgently requestsÊthat the National Biosolids Partnership no longer
be funded with tax dollars. This coalition of the regulator (EPA) and the
regulated (WEF, AMSA) is using public funds to mount a massive public relations
campaign to change "public perception" regarding toxic sludge as a suitable
material for land disposal on agricultural lands. Instead, these funds should
be used toÊresearch and implement safe alternatives for the management,
treatment and disposal of toxic sewage sludge that do not compromise human health,
our environment or the safety of the nationÕs food supply. The term
"biosolids" is a public relation agency-coined term used to linguistically detoxify
sludge and convince the public that it is safe. Grant money earmarked for
hazardous waste cleanup was used by the partnership to "debunk" rather than
investigate cases of harm. Metro Wastewater Reclamation District (MWRD),Êunder the
leadership ofÊRobert H.ÊHite, has waged an illegal smear campaign against
Anderson after she disclosed evidence of plutonium in a waste stream MWRD had
secretly agreed to accept, while subsequently issuing a permit to discharge
plutonium and other radioactive wastes into the public sewer lines. Robert Hite
heads both the NBP and Metro Wastewater in Colorado. Ironically,ÊMetro
Wastewater is one of the 27 plants chosen to illustrateÊ"good management
practices". Continued use of taxpayer money to support this partnership run by a man
whose own agency has engaged in illegal and retaliatory acts against its own
workersÕ representative concerned about the safety of nuclear waste in toxic
sewage sludge is a clear example of abuse of the public trust.
At a time when the safety of our food supplies is of paramount importance, we
ask our elected officials to stop the destruction of our valuable productive
farmland with a policy that allows toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens,
and radioactive wastes as "fertilizer." Further, we request that Congress
use its legislative power and protect public health and safety from this
controversial EPA policy and discontinue public funding of the "National Biosolids
Partnership" in the public interest.
We, the members of the National Sludge Alliance, thank you in advance for
your consideration of these requests and await your prompt reply.
Charlotte Hartman, Coordinator
National Biosolids Partnership,_ statement of Robert H. Hite_
(http://biosolids.policy.net/welcome/) , Chairman
Recommended Decision and Order, District Chief Judge David W. DiNardi, U.S.
Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges, in _Anderson v.
Metro Wastewater Reclamation District_
(http://www.oalj.dol.gov/public/wblower/decsn/97sdw07c.htm) , Case No. 1997-SDW-7, September 18, 2001. The Department of
Labor has now posted Chief District Judge David W. DiNardiÕs September 18,
2001 ruling in the whistleblower case Anderson v Metro Wastewater Reclamation
District at its government website, for those who wish to review the entire,
80-page decision. The matter at issue involved the sewage districtÕs plan -
since enacted, unfortunately,Êdespite widespread public opposition- to flush a
plutonium-contaminated Superfund Site in Colorado, the Lowry Landfill, to
public sewers to a non-NRC-licensed facility whose workers are not even
protected under OSHA, for redistribution as "fertilizer" on farm land growing crops
for human consumption, and in bagged material marketed commercially as
"MetroGro", for use on home gardens.
For more information about MWRDÕs plan to turn plutonium-contaminated Lowry
Landfill Superfund Site wastes into "beneficial biosolids":
_Dirty Secrets"_ (http://www.westword.com/webextra/lowry/index.html) ,
3-part Special Investigation by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Eileen Welsome
For general sludge information and links:
The National Sludge Alliance _Sewage Sludge Homepage_
_VA Land Application of Sludge, the Uncensored Story,_
(http://www.safer-world.org/e/topics/sludge.html) by Henry J. Staudinger
_ReSource Institute for Low Entropy Systems in Boston_
_"Potential Health Effects of Odor from Animal Operations, Wastewater
Treatment and Recycling of Byproducts,"_
(http://www.penweb.org/issues/sludge/health-odor.htm) Journal of Agromedicine, Volume 7, Number 1 2000-ISSN:
1059-924X. In the conclusion, the report in the Journal of Agromedicine says: "Our
current state of knowledge clearly suggests that it is possible for odorous
emissions from. . . recycling of biosolids to have an impact on physical health."
("Recycling of biosolids" refers to land spreading of sewage sludge.) Some
symptoms related to inhaling the vapor of sewage sludge mentioned in this
report are: eye, nose, and throat irritation, headache, nausea, hoarseness,
cough, nasal congestion, palpitations, shortness of breath, stress, drowsiness,
chest tightness, an alterations in mood.
_Out of Control: Ten Case Studies in Regulatory Abuse"_
(http://members.aol.com/lewisdavel/>http://members.aol.com/lewisdavel/) by David L. Lewis. Lewis
works as a research microbiologist for US EPA Ecosystems Research Division
and is an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia. Excerpt from ÔSludge
MagicÕ at the EPA "according to scientists working for EPA Office of Research
& Development, the sludge rule on land application of municipal wastes (40
CFR Part 503) promulgated in 1993 may be the most scientifically unsound
action ever taken by the agency. Rather than being protective, the rule actually
threatens public health and the environment."
The Waste Management Institute at Cornell University published,_ "The Case
For Caution,"_ (http://www.cfe.cornell.edu/wmi) Recommendations For Land
application of Sewage Sludges and An Appraisal of the US EPAÕs Part 503 Sludge
Rules by Ellen Harrison, Murray B. McBride and David R.Bouldin, Working Paper
August 1997 Revised February 1999.
_Joanne Marshall's statement _
(http://www.whistleblowers.org/statements.htm#state4) to the EPA regarding the death of her son from sludge poisoning.
Leonard E. Wheeler, Jr.,
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