Human Feces Used as Fertilizer Has Neighbors Fuming

Local farms are using fertilizer made up of human sewage and residents say they can't drink their water because of contamination.
By Teresa Masterson
Wednesday, Dec 28, 2011


Residents of a Lynn Township neighborhood are upset by the fertilizer spread on farm fields nearby. They say the fertilizer made of human waste has seeped into their drinking water.

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Dark Soil: Ending the Land Application of Biosolids In America

By Jason Fowler on 11/30/2011

I came home the other night to the thick stench of biosolids (treated sewage sludge) on the wind. The trucks had been driving past our cabin for days- and sometimes into the night. I went to collect eggs and close the chickens in as I do every night. I walked in the crisp but putrid night air with a handkerchief around my face. The smell was assaulting but what was even more disturbing was the realization that the real assault is against my family, my neighbors, the land and the future health of our community.

While you may have never heard of biosolids the battle to stop it’s application on agricultural and public lands has been raging for many years. Biosolids, according to the EPA, is said to be: “…nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage sludge (the name for the solid, semisolid or liquid untreated residue generated during the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility). When treated and processed, sewage sludge becomes biosolids which can be safely recycled and applied as fertilizer to sustainably improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.” In the same breathe they admit: “Thirty years ago, thousands of American cities dumped their raw sewage directly into our nation’s rivers, lakes, and bays. Today, because of improved wastewater treatment, our waterways have been cleaned up and made safer for recreation and seafood harvest. And, because of the strict Federal and state standards, the treated residuals from wastewater treatment (biosolids) can be safely recycled. Local governments make the decision whether to recycle the biosolids as a fertilizer, incinerate it or bury it in a landfill.” If biosolids are so valuable why would it be incinerated or buried in a landfill as a waste product?

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'Urine power' tests at UWE in Bristol are successful

Research into producing electricity from urine has been carried out by scientists at the University of the West of England (UWE) in Bristol.

It is claimed the publication of a research paper into the viability of urine as a fuel for Microbial Fuel Cells (MFCs) is a world first.

They say tests have produced small amounts of energy, but more research could produce "useful" levels of power.

Dr Ioannis Ieropoulos said he was "excited by the potential of the work".

MFCs contain the same kind of bacteria that is found in soil, the human gut or waste water from sewers.

'Regulating the flow'

The bacteria anaerobically (without oxygen) respire just like any other living organism, and this process gives off electrons.

Those electrons are then passed through an electrode and a measure of electricity is generated.

Bacteria feed on the urine, which they effectively use as a fuel to continue to breathe and give off electrons.

"Urine is chemically rich in substances favourable to the MFCs," said Dr Ieropoulos.

"Through this study... we were able to show that by miniaturisation and multiplication of the number of MFCs into a stack and regulating the flow of urine, it may be possible to look at scales of use that have the potential to produce useful levels of power, for example in a domestic or small village setting."

from http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-bristol-15636544?utm_source=feedbur...

SSAN Tables at The Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University

Students in the Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University had an opportunity to learn about the problem of sewage sludge and its effects on water, air and soil thanks to an information table set up by SSAN at a recent film series event held in the Levine Science Research Center on the Duke campus. The film series was a fundraiser for the Nicholas School's Environmental Internship Fund which was founded by a group of Nicholas School students to facilitate environmental internship supplemental funding.

Film Naming Contest Winner & Industry Attention Drawn to Video

Our film naming contest concludes. The winning name - submitted by our own Nancy Holt - is

SEWAGE SLUDGE ON OUR FARMS: A TOXIC BETRAYAL

So Nancy wins the prize, a beautiful set of pottery.

In other news...a sewage sludge industry newsletter (North East Biosolids and Residuals Association) has cited SSAN and its film. In their newsletter, they make the statement

"...current evidence certainly suggests biosolids use on soils in accordance with regulations and best management practices is safe for public health and the environment."

It is amazing that NEBRA says land applications of sewage sludge is safe because the EPA will not say that. The reason given by the EPA for no answer of safety to humans, animals or the environment? Because they do not know. (Tracy Mehan, EPA Assistant Administrator, US-EPA, October 29, 2003) and according to the EPA today, the EPA itself does not promote land applications.

Documentary Video Naming Contest


Folks, the Sewage Sludge Action Network has produced a video documentary about sewage sludge's harmful effects on the environment. But we have one thing left to be done...we need a title, i.e. a name, for our documentary video. Absent a title, the video is currently described as Sewage Sludge on farmland, but we want and need a formal title for our documentary.

So...we have decided to create a contest for the best documentary video name. The contest ends on Friday, September 30th at 5pm Eastern time. A panel of judges comprised of the SSAN coordinating committee will select the winning name. The prize is a one-hundred ($100) gift certificate to Eddie Smith Porcelain pottery. Here's what Debbie Nichol's has to say about Eddie's pottery:

"I think that Eddie Smith pottery is excellent and I personally own quite a bit of his pottery. He has shown his pottery at the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Guild show held every Thanksgiving in Raleigh, so obviously, he is very good."




Please submit one or more names for our documentary video via our contact us form.

Family moves on after dairy

By Rob Pavey
Staff Writer
Sunday, July 3, 2011

Michael Holahan/Staff

Bill Boyce and his wife, Carolyn, opened a restaurant behind their house after closing their long-running family dairy farm.

KEYSVILLE, Ga. --- Bill Boyce loves the smell of wood smoke and the telltale hiss of chicken grilled to perfection.

"I still don't fish, still don't hunt and still don't play golf," he said. "But I sure love to cook."

Boyce and his wife, Carolyn, opened Country Boys Cooking in 2005 after spending most of their lives operating a family dairy established by Bill's father in 1947.

Today, the dairy, its 1,400 cows and almost 700 acres are gone.

The Boyces spent years trying to advance their claims that improperly treated sewage sludge -- applied to their land by City of Augusta officials as free fertilizer -- caused the downfall of their dairy by poisoning both cattle and soil.

A $550,000 jury award in June 2003 left the family, in the words of their lawyer, "vindicated but not compensated."

The award was a fraction of the $12.5 million in damages sought by the family in a trial that was watched nationally because of its implications on federal rules governing the use of sludge as fertilizer.

The end of the trial heralded the end of an era for the Burke County family.

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