Sewage Sludge in the News

January 25, 2012

Updated on Thursday, January 26, to add a late-breaking research article:

  • “Measurement of Flame Retardants and Triclosan in Municipal Sewage Sludge and Biosolids” (Environment International, April 2012 volume): “The biosolids [from California and North Carolina] and SRM 2781 were analyzed for PBDEs, hexabromobenzene (HBB), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE), 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB), di(2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), the chlorinated flame retardant Dechlorane Plus (syn- and anti-isomers), and the antimicrobial agent 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol (triclosan). PBDEs were detected in every sample analyzed, and ΣPBDE concentrations ranged from 1750 to 6358 ng/g dry weight. Additionally, the PBDE replacement chemicals TBB and TBPH were detected at concentrations ranging from 120 to 3749 ng/g dry weight and from 206 to 1631 ng/g dry weight, respectively. Triclosan concentrations ranged from 490 to 13,866 ng/g dry weight. The detection of these contaminants of emerging concern in biosolids suggests that these chemicals have the potential to migrate out of consumer products and enter the outdoor environment” (from article abstract, with emphasis added). For more on sewage sludge contaminants, see SourceWatch.
  • Pennsylvania’s William Bispels Runs for the State House of Representatives on Anti-Sewage Sludge Spreading Platform (BCTV, 1/25)
  • “Cadmium Stress” from Sludge Spreading Negatively Affects Plant Growth and Development (CO2 Science, 1/25): For more on the presence of cadmium in sewage sludge, see SourceWatch.
  • Sludge Pelletizing Plant Explodes in Florida, Worker Injured (Palm Beach Post, 1/24, and Waste & Recycling News, 1/24)
  • Pennsylvania Compost Program Stench Causes Outcry: According to the MarpleNewtown Patch (1/24) and HaverfordHavertown Patch (1/20), the program composts local leaves, but the unholy stench has neighbors upset enough to demand the program be ended. The two neighboring townships, Havertown and Marple, Pennsylvania, hired well-known sewage sludge consultant Craig Coker, to help reduce the odor. Coker is on the Board of the sludge front group the U.S. Composting Council and a former member of the sludge industry trade group the Water Environment Federation‘s (WEF’s) “Biosolids” Management Committee and, in 2008, wrote an editorial (or “advertorial,” in PR jargon) for the Roanoke Times in which he advocated the safety of treated, minimally regulated sewage sludge as fertilizer. Are the townships “composting” human and industrial waste sludge with their leaves?
  • Culpeper Star Exponent Suggests Culpeper County, Virginia Board of Supervisors “Steer Clear of Biosolids Facility” (1/24)
  • Cloquet, Minnesota Opts Out of “Bio-Cremation” Because of Risk of Liquified Corpses Containing Prions Being Released into Sewer System (Pine Journal, 1/23 – thanks to Maureen Reilly of SludgeWatch)
  • Sludge Management Company Harvest Power Wins “Cleantech” Award for Sludge-to-Power Process that Leaves Behind Toxic Sludge the Company Sells as “Organic Fertilizer” (Renewable Energy Magazine, 1/23) – A prime example of “greenwashing.” Certified organic farms are forbidden by the U.S. Department of Agriculture from fertilizing with sewage sludge.
  • Newark, Delaware to Thermally Dry Sludge as Part of Sludge-to-Power Project, No News on What They Will Do with the Dried Sludge (Newark Post, 1/22, and Delaware Online, 1/23)
  • “Septic Sludge Battle” Pits Counties Against Washington State: “A court battle over whether to spread septic sludge on a Western Wahkiakum County farm isn’t so much about whether the practice is good or bad.It’s ultimately about who gets to decide — Wahkiakum County or the state.” (The Daily News, 1/22)
  • Lystek Building Fifth Plant in Ontario, Canada – This $16.5 Million Plant in Elora (The Wellington Advertiser, 1/20 – thanks to Maureen Reilly of SludgeWatch)
  • Stamford, Connecticut Sewage Plant “Flush with Problems,” Polluting Long Island Sound (Stamford Advocate, 1/18 and 1/17)
  • Florida Court To Rule On Nutrient Criteria that would Affect Wastewater Treatment Plants, Despite Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Pledge To Withdraw Rule: According to Inside EPA (1/17), a subscription-only publication, a “federal district court judge is poised to rule in a consolidated legal challenge to EPA‘s landmark numeric nutrient criteria for Florida’s inland lakes and streams even though state regulators and legislators are working to finalize their own criteria that EPA has indicated it is willing to accept, effectively rendering the litigation moot. . . . At issue in the case are the first of two phases of numeric nutrient criteria for nitrogen, phosphorus and chlorophyll that EPA developed for Florida in December 2010, intended to replace the state’s existing, less stringent narrative criteria. . . . A wide variety of industry sectors — including wastewater utilities, agriculture groups, municipal governments, manufacturing and fertilizer industries — Florida, and environmentalists filed suit against EPA upon its promulgation of the first phase of the numeric criteria on Nov. 15, 2010″ (emphasis added).
  • Spins Austin, Texas’ Sludge Management Plant as “Green Innovation”: The government website (, 1/17) calls Austin’s Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant, which produces the sludge product “Dillo Dirt” of “Austin City Limits Festival” mud rash fame, “a national model for innovative approaches to improve the environment, such as reducing waste, producing compost, and protecting ecosystems.” When the government is both regulating and marketing a project, who can citizens trust for the truth?
  • Agilyx Corporation Appoints Former Synagro CEO and Chairman, Ross Patten, to its Board of Directors (MarketWire, 1/17): Agilyx, which calls itself “the first company to economically convert difficult to recycle waste plastic into synthetic crude oil,” filled a spot on its Board by calling on Patten, who acquired Synagro with other investors in 1991 and helped “grow the business.” It is now the largest processor of sewage sludge in the United States and owned by The Carlyle Group since 2007. Recently, Synagro gave 30 days notice of its application to dump municipal sewage sludge in the northern Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania (Northern Lehigh Valley Logic, 1/12). According to the Lehigh Valley Live (1/9), “while Lower Mount Bethel Township supervisors aren’t necessarily pleased about sludge coming to township farms, there’s really not a lot they can do about it” because “the use of sludge fertilizer is approved and monitored by environmental agencies across the country, including the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Departments of Environmental Protection.”

Filed under: In the News,Sewage Sludge

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment


(required), (Hidden)

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

TrackBack URL  |  RSS feed for comments on this post.



Food Rights Network

Follow us on Twitter!

  1. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: Tell USDA to reject Dow’s 2,4-D soybeans!

  2. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: Can you imagine more chemicals on crops in the next 10 yrs? The #Big6 #pesticide and #GMO corporations can! #LabelGMOs

  3. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: Did you know #GMOs are "helping to improve the health of the Earth”? #Monsanto wants your kids to believe it. #Big6

  4. Food Rights Network
    Food Rights Network: "@wendellpotter of Big Food" @AuthorBruce supports #labelgmos and #yeson37. Learn what you can do to fight the #Big 6:

Recent Comments


Keep up on Twitter!

  1. Chelsea Morgan Tharp
    Chelsea Morgan Tharp: Democracies function best without invisible men! Love it. So true. #ColleyComm #toxicsludge

  2. Chelsea Morgan Tharp
    Chelsea Morgan Tharp: Most of what you see on TV is, in effect, a canned PR product." #ColleyComm #toxicsludge