State still lets Central Florida's sludge foul Everglades, critics say
The foul waters of Lake Okeechobee, the failing health of the Everglades and even sick dolphins along the South Florida coast might seem like troubles so distant they could hardly be the Orlando area's responsibility.
Treatment of that watery waste produces sludge, which local sewage utilities at least partly disinfect and dispose of as fertilizer. A lot of that fertilizer winds up on cattle ranches and citrus groves south of Orlando, where rain runoff and flooding can release chemicals that poison the wetlands and waterways from here to Florida Bay.
The Florida Legislature passed a law two years ago that environmental activists took as a victory that calls for an end to spreading of sludge within a vast area that drains into Osceola County's large lakes and then south to the Kissimmee River, Lake Okeechobee, the Everglades and the coastal estuaries of South Florida.
Now those environmentalists are accusing state officials of sidestepping the law, even as the Everglades watershed gets sicker by the day.
"There's a continued buildup of a pollutant that's wreaking havoc with the ecosystem," said Eric Draper, Audubon of Florida's policy director in Tallahassee. "It's going to be extremely expensive to clean up."
May 23, 2013
The Sewage Sludge Action Network has become involved in helping parents and concerned citizens in Alamance County, North Carolina to halt spraying of sewage sludge adjacent to elementary schools. With reports of higher than normal student illness and absenteeism rates, the practice needs to stop. The City of Burlington and the Alamance County Board of Education have been put on notice having been provided ample scientific evidence to suggest a causal relationship. To not act in protecting children from being exposed to the dangerous chemicals and pathogens contained in sewage sludge constitutes nothing less than willful negligence.
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