Sewage Sludge in the News

November 30, 2011

  • “Dark Soil: Ending the Land Application of Biosolids In America”: A great article that stands for itself (Jason Fowler, Sustainable Traditions, 11/30). Please read!
  • “Montreal’s storm drains ‘widely contaminated’ with sewage, researchers conclude after finding caffeine traces”: According to the National Post (11/28), “After testing 120 brooks, collectors and outfalls in Montreal, researchers discovered that samples containing human urine and feces were also lightly caffeinated. Their conclusion: If there’s an abundance of caffeine in the water, ‘it means you have a leaky sewage pipe somewhere,’ lead researcher Sébastien Sauvé told the Post on Monday.” (Thank you to Maureen Reilly of Sludgewatch for highlighting this article.)
  • At Sludge Corporations’ Request, Arkansas Natural Resources Commission (ANRC) Allows “Land Application” of “Biosolids” “Within 100 Feet of Streams”: According to the ANRC, it has incorporated comments made by Thomas Rose, President of Poinsett Fertilizer, Inc. and George Crook on behalf of American Composting, Inc. in its “Premium Biosolids Incentives Cost Share Program” so that “land application” of “eligible premium biosolids” will no longer be restricted “within 100 feet” of “drainage ditch[es] located outside a Nutrient Surplus Area lying on or contiguous to row crop farmland or pasture land that receives only intermittent surface water runoff from natural precipitation and crop irrigation, and . . . wells and manmade water reservoirs that serve as a water source solely for the irrigation of row crops and pastures.”
  • “Metals in the Soil are Contributing to the Rise of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs”: According to the Toronto Sun (11/23), “A team of international experts found that antibiotic-resistant genes, a major cause of what’s known as superbugs, are more prevalent in areas where there’s a high metal content in the soil.” As Maureen Reilly of Sludgewatch pointed out in an 11/26 email, “The land application of sewage sludge puts thousands of tonnes of heavy metals (like lead, arsenic, cadmium, mercury, thallium etc) onto farmland.”
  • Waterkeeper Alliance Sues Perdue Chicken “Farm” for Leaching of “Biosolids” Contaminants into Pocomoke RiverAccording to the Baltimore Sun (11/18), a Perdue chicken operation owned by the Hudsons in Eastern Shore, Maryland, which raises more than a half-million chickens a year on 293-acres, received treated sewage sludge from Ocean City (from a follow-up article defending the Hudson’s operation, by Maryland State Senator Richard Colburn (R-37), 11/29), runoff from which was, according to the Waterkeeper Alliance after doing aerial surveillance, accumulating in an adjacent drainage ditch  which ultimately drains into the Pocomoke River. Waterkeeper measured high levels of bacteria from waste in the ditch and initiated a lawsuit against the operation with the assistance of the University Of Maryland School Of Law’s Environmental Law Clinic as legal representation. Senator Colburn and Governor Martin O’Malley have weighed in on the side of Perdue and the Hudsons. According to Colburn, “The Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) investigated the situation, asked the Hudsons to move the pile to a different location on the farm, and concluded that no further action was required on the farm’s part other than to spread the biosolid pile in the spring for the next crop growing season.” That, Coburn thinks, ought to be enough.

Filed under: In the News,Sewage Sludge

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