scoops

Monday, July 11, 2016

Video: Cedar Creek flood

This video was taken from the north side of Cedar Creek looking across the creek toward the northwestern corner of the Wallace Ranch. The flood meets the treeline about 25-30 feet above the creek-bed. If you could see under the treeline, the ranch pasture used to grow oats would be visible. This is by no means the highest the creek gets during floods.

Sludge exposes a stink

The saga of David Lewis and the EPA’s failure to protect the public is summarized in this 2008 article published in Nature:

Online: Raking through sludge exposes a stink

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The accompanying editorial chastises the EPA for its non-action:

Online: Stuck in the mud

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

More Harm than Good

From Mother Earth News Biosolids: More Harm than Good two interviews with David Lewis by Lidia Epp.

Introduction

David Lewis, Ph.D., formerly a senior-level research microbiologist at EPA-ORD, was terminated by EPA for publishing two articles in Nature that raised concerns over the 503 sludge rule. He currently serves as director of research for the Focus for Health Foundation. Dr. Lewis kindly agreed to an interview for the MOTHER EARTH NEWS blog addressing the issue of agricultural use of sewage and industrial sludge, aka – biosolids. He is one of the most prominent scientific voices in the growing opposition to biosolids land application. Dr. Lewis’ publications are frequently cited as an example of solid, unbiased scientific evidence of the danger posed by this practice.

Part 1 - February 18, 2016: read online or download PDF
Part 2 - February 18, 2016: read online or download PDF

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

How safe is sludge?

The Texas Administrative Code (TAC) addresses “Pathogen Reduction” in sludge with the following restrictions. That should tell you something about how “safe” sludge is:

(3) Site restrictions.

(A) Food crops with harvested parts totally above the land surface that touch the sewage sludge/soil mixture must not be harvested from the land for at least 14 months after the application of sewage sludge.

(B) Food crops with harvested parts below the surface of the land must not be harvested for at least 20 months after application of sewage sludge when the sewage sludge remains on the land surface for four months or longer prior to incorporation into the soil.

(C) Food crops with harvested parts below the surface of the land must not be harvested for at least 38 months after application of sewage sludge when the sewage sludge remains on the land surface for less than four months prior to the incorporation into the soil.

(D) Food crops, feed crops, and fiber crops must not be harvested for at least 30 days after application of sewage sludge.

(E) Animals must not be allowed to graze on the land for at least 30 days after application of sewage sludge.

(F) Turf grown on land where sewage sludge is applied may not be harvested for at least one year after application of sewage sludge when the harvested turf is placed on either land with a high potential for public exposure or a lawn.

(G) Public access to land with a high potential for public exposure must be restricted for at least one year after application of sewage sludge.

(H) Public access to land with a low potential for public exposure must be restricted for at least 30 days after application of the sewage sludge.

Texas Administrative Code
TITLE 30 ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
PART 1 TEXAS COMMISSION ON ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
CHAPTER 312 SLUDGE USE, DISPOSAL, AND TRANSPORTATION
SUBCHAPTER D PATHOGEN AND VECTOR ATTRACTION REDUCTION
RULE §312.82 Pathogen Reduction

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But even the supposedly “safe” sludge - Dillo Dirt - that you can buy at Home Deport is not so safe. You may remember that before the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2009, Dillo Dirt was applied to the Zilker Park turf. When it rained and the turf turned to muck, the pathogens in the sludge sickened a number of people. This was not Austin’s finest hour thanks to a substance that is potentially very dangerous. You can read about that fiasco here.

Unfortunately pathogens are not the only danger lurking in sewage sludge. There are other contaminants in sludge from household use AND industrial waste AND agricultural/road runoff etc. that may include - heavy metals, synthetic chemicals & pesticides, hydrocarbons, petrochemicals, organochlorines, pharmaceuticals, steroids & hormones etc. Monitoring of these substances is limited. Regulatory ‘truth’ once again in denial of reality.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Learning from history (or not)

People are gullible. Why else would the PR industry be so successful. There are those of us who remember this campaign:

ddt_yum_sm.jpg

American farmers have been some of the most gullible of all. For over 20 years many have bought into the regulatory deception that “sludge is safe”. After all it’s “free fertilizer’, right? That would depend on the definition of ‘free” because while sludge is without monetary cost to the farmer there is the price of toxic contamination of the soil that will be around for a very l-o-n-g time. Sludge is turning farms into mini “Love Canals” with official Federal and State approval.

Just yesterday there was a story on the evening news about a General Mills recall of flour contaminated with E. coli. Is anybody reading this wondering if that wheat was grown on sludge?

If you have an interest . . . Toxic Sludge Is Good For You Lies, Damn Lies and the Public Relations Industry by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton from 1996 is the classic expose of how the American public has been hoodwinked by PR spin time and time again. You can read Chapter 8 - THE SLUDGE HITS THE FAN - here.