The attached testimony by Dr. Caroline Snyder is worth reading and posting. The EPA also knew in 1982 that sewage treatment plants generated antibiotic resistant bacteria (see below). The author is an EPA scientist, the paper was peer reviewed, and after the EPA started promoting land applications of sewage sludge---the study was suppressed and no longer available at the EPA, DHHS or the CDC.
Dateline: Monday, October 12, 2009
by Holly Dressel
In November of 2006, the tiny municipality of Elgin, Quebec, comprised of only a few hundred people, passed a by-law prohibiting the spreading, storage or transport of municipal or de-inking sludge on its territory.
The people living in Elgin, about 60 km southwest of Montreal, understood that Canada's water treatment systems are not able to remove many toxic elements intrinsic to sludge, such as:
* pathogens like H1N1 or E. coli;
* dangerous chemicals like flame retardants;
* hormones; or,
* the heavy metals that get into sewage systems from small industries and the de-inking process of paper recycling mills.
Farmers in the area were particularly worried about the heavy metals in de-inking sludges, which can sterilize soils, rendering the soil useless and in fact dangerous for crop production in a relatively short period of time. Such material can be trucked in from distant, large cities and cannot be traced.
Elgin's by-law was passed in order to "protect public health and the environment."
"... Lack of full scientific certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation."
The local farm wishing to spread the sludge took the village to court, on the grounds that the process is not only legal in Quebec and across Canada but encouraged by provincial regulations. They were backed by a huge multinational waste management company, GSI, which makes its money by taking human and de-inking sludge off the hands of overwhelmed municipalities, calling it a crop fertilizer, and selling it to farmers at much cheaper rates than regular chemical fertilizers.
On October 1, 2009, to the surprise of many, Quebec's Superior court upheld the town's bylaw. Judge Steve J. Reimnitz invoked the well-known Supreme Court ruling in the case of Hudson, Quebec's similar ban on cosmetic pesticides.
Farming is a global business these days — what happens on the far side of the world often impacts what farmers in the Southeast plant and how they market their crops.
Farming is also a local business and how the public perceives agriculture goes a long way toward influencing state and federal elected officials, who make the laws that govern agriculture. For the most part our elected officials don’t really understand what farming is all about and don’t have unified voice to explain it to them.
Food safety is a big public issue, yet the estimated 6-7 million tons of potentially toxic municipal waste that goes on farm land each year is not a public issue — at least not yet.
In Virginia, for example, there are about 8.5 million acres of farmland, but only 55,000 acres are treated with biosolids, a legal, but euphemistic term for municipal sludge.
U.S. District Judge Clay Land, of Athens, Georgia, issued an order yesterday compelling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to provide their employee Madolyn Dominy for deposition in a whistleblower's scientific fraud case. Madolyn Dominy was the EPA's Regional Biosolids Coordinator from 1998 to 2004. In his whistleblower lawsuit, Dr. David L. Lewis (pictured) and dairy farmers Andy McElmurray and William Boyce claim that researchers at the University of Georgia (UGA) conspired with EPA employees to make false statements as part of a grant application to justify land application of sewage sludge. The law firm of Hallman & Wingate of Marietta, Georgia, represents Dr. Lewis, McElmurray and Boyce in this case. The EPA tried to use is "Touhy" regulation to prevent Hallman & Wingate from deposing Dominy. Yesterday, Judge Land rejected this attempt, and ordered that EPA make Dominy available for deposition by September 11, 2009. A copy of the order is available at this link.
Dr. Lewis and the dairy farmers filed their lawsuit under the federal False Claims Act. They initially asked the government to intervene to recover money the researchers obtained under false pretenses. The government declined, so they are pursuing discovery to prove that the researchers' "Gaskin Study" containing false, unreliable and fabricated scientific data regarding the effects of sewage sludge on animal health and land. Dr. Lewis and the farmers also claim that the researchers cited the Gaskin Study in additional grant applications, thus violating the False Claims Act again. The lawsuit arises from the EPA's efforts to justify its "Sludge Rule" that allows sewage sludge to be spread on certain open lands. The Sludge Rule is at 40 C.F.R. Part 503. Dr. Lewis has determined that the EPA's rule lacks the scientific basis needed to assure its safety.
The Gaskin Study related to sewage sludge that was processed by an Augusta, Georgia wastewater treatment plant and applied as fertilizer to various parcels of land, including the farms of Boyce and McElmurray. During the late 1990s, Boyce and McElmurray claim that the sewage sludge contained hazardous wastes which ultimately poisoned and killed their dairy cows. Together with Dr. Lewis, they claim that the UGA researchers and EPA employees worked together on studies of the Augusta sewage sludge land application project with an agenda of promoting land application of sewage sludge as safe and beneficial and discrediting any allegations to the contrary.
Giving FDA More Power and More Money is NOT the Answer, Changing National Sewage Policy Is
by Guest Blogger, Jim Bynum, Vice President of Help for Sewage Victims
The House recently passed a new food safety bill (HR2749) giving the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) new power and more money. According to recently discovered documents, this will do nothing to protect our food. Since 1980 it has been the official national policy to dispose of sewage waste on grazing land, fruits and vegetables, parks school grounds and home lawns. The policy was signed by EPA, FDA and USDA based on the premise that EPA had a mandate from Congress under Public Law 92-500 (Clean Water Act) to prevent sewage effluents (water and sludge) from being released into surface water. At that time there were more that 3,000 municipal sewage treatment land application sites in operation. However, most states balked at using land treatment systems without additional secondary treatment and EPA refused to fund those treatment systems.
Sewage Treatment Plants Mass Produce Bad Bacteria
Shortly after the national policy was created in 1980, EPA studies documented that sewage treatment plants were creating antibiotic resistant bacteria. According to EPA in 1982, “present-day conventional waste water treatment — “poisons the rivers and streams” Not only that, but drinking water treatment plants were picking up the antibiotic resistant bacteria and adding chlorine resistance to their armor. Furthermore, Milwaukee’s Milorganite and Chicago Metropolitan Sewage District’s sludge as well as 50% of the other municipalities could not meet the national policy requirement.
By Dale Keiger
Ellen Silbergeld, Eng '72 (PhD), recalls that she did not want to go to the seminar. She was a professor of epidemiology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in 1999 when her department's chairman needed an audience for the seminar's presenter, a candidate for a faculty position. Silbergeld recalls the chairman saying, "Please, just sit in the room. You can come to lunch." So she sat in the room, and something caught her attention. The seminar was on hospital-acquired infections, but the presenter mentioned in passing that some drug-resistant infections came from food. That seemed odd. Silbergeld knew you could pick up Salmonella from, say, tainted chicken salad. But how would that Salmonella have become resistant to antibiotics? She turned to a colleague and asked. Because, he said, factory chicken farms routinely feed antibiotics to their flocks, to accelerate growth, and the drugs generate resistance.