ScienceDaily (Dec. 21, 2010) — Every hour, an enormous quantity and variety of human-made chemicals, having reached the end of their useful lifespan, flood into wastewater treatment plants. These large-scale processing facilities, however, are designed only to remove nutrients, turbidity and oxygen-depleting human waste, and not the multitude of chemicals put to residential, institutional, commercial and industrial use.
So what happens to these chemicals, some of which may be toxic to humans and the environment? Do they get destroyed during wastewater treatment or do they wind up in the environment with unknown consequences?
New research by Rolf Halden and colleagues at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University seeks to address such questions. The group's results, reported recently in the Journal of Environmental Monitoring, suggest that a number of high production volume (HPV) chemicals -- that is, those used in the U.S. at rates exceeding 1 million pounds per year, are likely to become sequestered in post-treatment sludge and from there, enter the environment when these so-called biosolids are deposited on land.
It’s not just corporate funding that creates conflicts of interest. Even government and nonprofit funding can have strings attached.
By Steve Wing
Environmental epidemiologists sometimes hear from people dealing with pollutants and sickness. So I wasn’t surprised when Nancy Holt contacted me about the millions of gallons of municipal sewage sludge being spread on fields near her home in Orange County, North Carolina. Sometimes, she said, the stench was so awful that she and her husband had to cover their faces when they went outside. They had trouble breathing. Sores broke out on her grandchildren’s bodies after they played in a nearby creek. She had her well tested. It was contaminated with bacteria and chemicals. Droplets of wet sludge covered her mailbox.
By the time she called me at my office at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Nancy was fed up with the runaround from local, state, and federal agencies. Government employees had tried to reassure her that sewage sludge is safe, that existing rules protect public health, and that there is no evidence sludge ever harmed anyone. When she learned that our research group had been studying the effects of industrial hog operations on neighbors’ health and quality of life, she thought we might be able to evaluate the impacts of sewage sludge.
Why Would EPA Imply These Pathogens Are Not Disease Causing Organisms?
THERE IS NO FEDERAL STANDARD FOR PATHOGENS. EPA Office of Water refers to pathogens in the Clean Water Act as Fecal coliform in Part 401.16. E. coli, Salmonella and Salmonella are members of a group of 12 bacteria that make a coliform under the Public Health Service STANDARD. They all create a virtually identical signature during a fecal coliform contamination lab test.
EPA Office of Water does not consider pathogens to be hazardous to the environment or human health because the Office of Hazardous Waste has never developed a list of disease organisms referred to as Etiologic Agents under part 261 Appendix VI. EPA also does not consider bacteria in the viable, but nonculturable state to be a hazards to you health when they regain the viable state.
As we all know from the media stories, at least E. coli and Salmonella will cause death, But the EPA document implies that the worse that can happen is that you get a case of gastroenteritis, rather than any actual organ damage. As you can guess, these are not the only pathogens in sludge - biosolids that could kill you. Click here for index to deadly disease bacteria and viruses EPA doesn't want to talk about.
by David L. Lewis, Ph.D.
In 1863, under the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Congress passed the False Claims Act to recover taxpayer funds looted from the U.S. Treasury through fraudulent claims. Included in the False Claims Act were "Qui tam" provisions, which allow private citizens with both direct and independent knowledge of such acts of fraud to file lawsuits on behalf of the U.S. Government and receive a portion of the money recovered. Qui tam is short for a Latin phrase that loosely translates: "He who sues on behalf of the king and himself."
by Jim Bynum, VP and Gail Bynum, Ph.D
In the September 11, 2009 article on the 2006 spinach outbreak, Wild Boar or Waste Water? Who Slimed the Spinach?, the question was "Can Wildlife Really be Blamed when U.S. is Using Contaminated Water to Irrigate our Fields?". The article traced the roots of the antibiotic resistant Shiga Toxin producing E. coli 0157:H7 from a naval officer at the Naval Biosciences Laboratory at University of California, Oakland in 1975 to the first documented wild boar infection in 2006. While the source of the contamination was never fully determined by CDC, the same strain of E. coli 0157:H7 was found in San Benita River water as well as cattle and wild pigs. The most disturbing part of the CDC study was a remark that they also found E. coli 0157:H7 in the river and on the ranch that did not match the outbreak strain. This is a clear indication that this deadly E. coli 0157:H7 mutant clone is still swapping genetic material as it moves through wastewater treatment plants into the environment in treated sewage sludge fertilizer, treated sewage effluent and treated sewage effluent reclaimed water irrigation. As of September 2006, CDC had documented 3,520 unique strains of E. coli O157:H7.
Irrigating Your Vegetables With Treated Sewage Water? Still Not a Good Idea if You Are Concerned About E. Coli
By Frank Pecarich
Well, the season for growing leafy vegetables in Salinas Valley is mostly over until the spring. According to the history of the past 10 years, we will again see an outbreak of deadly E. coli 0157H: 7 sometime this coming summer of fall. We can safely say that because nothing of substance has changed since the furor over the 3 deaths and over 200 sickened citizens in the Fall of 2006.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Americans suffer 6.3 million illnesses per month, 27,000 people are hospitalized each month, and 416 die each month from something they ate.
We are being told that future attention to pathogen prevention in Monterey County will be mainly focused on animal grazing areas being too close to cultivated fields. That is because the primary “host” animal for E. coli 0157H: 7 is an animal like a cow. What isn’t appreciated is that when the pathogen E. coli 0147H:7 is ingested by a human, we humans are the “host” for that organism until it passes from our body.
In this last outbreak, there were 200 such humans who were harboring E. coli 0157H:7 plus all the others who were infected but did not report the disease. It has been estimated by pathologists and medical specialists that for every reported incident of E. coli 0157H:7 there are 9 more that are not reported. Those people then aided in the pathogen getting to another source of contamination, the sewer and ultimately, the local waste water treatment system. In the Monterey County incident, there may well be 2,000 people out there that were adversely impacted, not just the 200 as oft reported.
How Does It Get From Cows to Humans?
In addition to humans who are sick with drug resistant pathogens such as E. coli 0157H:7 passing their contaminated feces into the sewage system from their homes and the hospitals, blood and fecal material are flushed away from animal slaughter houses that can be contaminated with pathogens, like E. coli 0157H:7. Add to that source, the hospital treatment centers that have their sewage flushed into the local waste water treatment facility and you have a deadly toxic “Witch’s caldron” environment in the local sewer treatment system.
BY John Stauber, July 9, 2010
The celebrity chef Alice Waters is probably the world's most famous advocate of growing and eating local, Organic food. In February 2010 her Chez Panisse Foundation chose as its new Executive Director the wealthy "green socialite" and liberal political activist Francesca Vietor. Vietor's hiring created a serious conflict of interest that has married Waters and her Foundation to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) and its scam of disposing of toxic sewage sludge waste as free "organic Biosolids compost" for gardens.
San Francisco's Mayor, Gavin Newsom, appointed Francesca Vietor as one of the five Commissioners who run the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in 2008, just a year after the SFPUC began giving away toxic sewage sludge as "organic Biosolids compost." San Francisco, often dubbed the green city with a green mayor, was seemingly providing free "Organic compost" to urban gardens. It sounded too good to be true, and it was. While San Francisco does have an admirable program to collect vegetable waste and turn it into valuable garden compost, the city sells that stuff, the good stuff, Organic with a capital "O." What the city gives away for free as "organic Biosolids compost" is actually hazardous waste, sewage sludge, from San Francisco and eight other counties.
* By Ronnie Cummins & Alexis Baden-Mayer
Greg Kester, Natalie Sierra and Liz Ostoich, along with municipal governments across the U.S. in need desperately of getting rid of the noxious stuff called sewage sludge, want Americans to believe that that toxic brew is good for you. Specifically, these operators are waging a massive PR campaign to get farmers and gardeners, including school gardens, to “fertilize” their veggies with sewage sludge. Their campaign would have us believe that the chemicals in sewage sludge—thousands of them present in every degree of hazardous and toxic combination—are somehow magically gone from sewage sludge once you “apply” it to your garden.
SEWAGE SLUDGE OR BIOSOLIDS? Is It A Toxic Hazardous Solid Waste or Safe Fertilizer? Ignorance, Confusion, and Lies
What you don’t know about sewage sludge, aka biosolids, could change your life and those of your family forever through exposure to its deadly coliform, bacteria, viruses, helminths, protozoa, fungi, organics, synthetic organics and inorganic heavy metals. Sewage sludge is the biological active aggregates (bacterial biofilms-pathogens-residual-organics-solids of the secondary biological sewage treatment process. In 1981, EPA, FDA
Activists wearing face masks and haz-mat suits dumped a pile of sewage sludge on the steps of San Francisco's city hall today to protest the city's practice of marketing the material to home gardeners as "organic compost." The US Department of Agriculture's organic standards explicity prohibit organic produce from being grown on sludge-treated land. "The City of San Francisco owes an apology to all of the food consumers in California who have been eating non-organic food grown on sewage sludge," said Ronnie Cummins, president of the Organic Consumers Association. He was wearing a haz-mat suit on which he'd written a message to San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom: "Organic gardens aren't toxic waste dumps."
The toxic sewage sludge prevention and mitigation community lost one of its greatest activists - Maureen Reilly died on December 11, 2012. Maureen was a respected researcher and educator whose contributions were valued across Canada, in the United States and Europe. She was the editor of Sludge Watch, an online newsletter with a worldwide readership. From an on-line obituary "...for almost two decades, Maureen has been an inspired, tireless and preeminent researcher and campaigner against land application of sludge, assisting local communities throughout North America fight industrial and municipal proposals to re-brand toxic effluents of various types and consistencies and dump them as 'fertilizer' and 'beneficial biosolids' onto our food, aquifers, into our lives and bodies."
What You Can Do
What You Can Do [PDF]
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