By Frank Pecarich
Retired Soil Scientist

December 20, 2006
RECYCLING SEWAGE EFFLUENT (WATER) BY LAW, WITH ASSOCIATED VIABLE, NONCULTURABLE BACTERIA,
VIRUSES, ETC., PIPED INTO BUILDING COOLING SYSTEMS AS WELL AS IRRIGATION SYSTEMS

This is starting to get very interesting.  Since sewage effluent is used in building cooling systems, that might explain the
occasionally outbreak of legionnaires disease. Just as we have the occasionally outbreak in produce from Salinas
Valley. My, My, all these foodborne  cases with no explanation. Jim

November 15, 2006
Arnold Schwarzenegger and the “I Heart Spinach” Program or Has the “Terminator” Become the “Germ-a-nator”?

No sooner had I told myself I would take a break from writing about the E. coli 0157H:7 situation and Monterey County,
than news came out that now has me keyboarding again. If you recall, I am gradually realizing that this whole issue which
so obviously deals with basic science and health has become more and more political and public relations (PR) focused.

November 3, 2006.
Deadly Pathogens and Science vs. PR and Politics: Spinach in Monterey County

It seems like months have passed since the United States first found out that the potentially lethal E.coli 0157H:7
pathogen had once again infiltrated our supply of fresh spinach and people were getting sick and some dying. Our little
band of scientists has been busy since that time analyzing these phenomena which have been going on in the Salinas
Valley for the past 10 years with toxic pathogen outbreaks in 9 of those 10 years.

October 13, 2006.
Monterey Cover-up on Cause of Spinach and Lettuce Contamination?

Monterey County officials stand to be in big trouble if this spinach and lettuce disaster continues to get more "light of
day". They talked farmers whose farms are located in the Castroville Sea Water Intrusion Project area into using tertiary
treated sewage effluent to irrigate 12,000 acres of high quality vegetables including leafy green spinach and lettuce.
This had never been done before in the United States on vulnerable soft tissue vegetables such as lettuce or spinach.
These are particularly vulnerable crops to E. coli pathogens anyway because of the soft cellular tissue and the fact that
they are typically consumed raw. Also, much of that CSIP cropland uses sprinkler irrigation which means that the
vegetables are getting a frequent sprinkling of water that has a chance of containing the highly toxic pathogen E.coli
0157:H7.

October 10, 2006.
Why Do We Abandon Science in Favor of PR? Orange County Follies

We are gradually recovering from the stunning news that for the last 9 or so years, Monterey County has been irrigating
tender leafy green vegetables like spinach and lettuce with tertiary treated sewage effluent on the 12,000 agricultural
acres within the boundary of the Castroville Sea Water Intrusion Project. It has been established in the research I have
covered in earlier installments of this continuing saga, that irrigating crops such as lettuce and spinach -- which are
usually consumed raw -- with treated effluent is a most dangerous activity as pathogens such as E. coli 0157:H7 can get
through to the irrigation water and to the plant

October 9, 2006.
E. coli: Why Monterey County Made a Poor Decision on the Type of Water to Use for Irrigation of Their Croplands

The September 2006 case of E. coli food contamination, the 20th national case and the 9th case in California in the last
decade to be traced back to the region, has masked over the over-arching question of why Monterey County would
choose to use tertiary treated sewage effluent to irrigate 12,000 acres of widely consumed food crops such as
strawberries, artichokes and tender leafy green vegetables such as lettuce and spinach.

October 9, 2006.
E. coli: Is There a Cover-up of Poor Decisions on the Type of Water Used for Irrigation of Croplands in the Salinas
Valley?

I am one of the last to cry "cover-up in government" but sometimes the evidence seems overwhelming. For weeks now
the US has been suffering one of the worse outbreaks of E. coli in our food stream in history. This event centered on
spinach grown in Monterey County. On September 8 it started when Wisconsin reported that there was a problem to the
CDC and it was on September 14 that the FDA issued an alert asking Americans to shun spinach.

November 3, 2006
Deadly Pathogens and Science vs. PR and Politics: Spinach in Monterey County
It seems like months have passed since the United States first found out that the potentially lethal E.coli 0157H:7
pathogen had once again infiltrated our supply of fresh spinach and people were getting sick and some dying. Our little
band of scientists has been busy since that time analyzing these phenomena which have been going on in the Salinas
Valley for the past 10 years with toxic pathogen outbreaks in 9 of those 10 years.

November 15, 2006
Arnold Schwarzenegger and the “I Heart Spinach” Program or Has the “Terminator” Become the “Germ-a-nator”?
No sooner had I told myself I would take a break from writing about the E. coli 0157H:7 situation and Monterey County,
than news came out that now has me keyboarding again. If you recall, I am gradually realizing that this whole issue which
so obviously deals with basic science and health has become more and more political and public relations (PR) focused.

December 19, 2006
Senator Florez Questions Industry Self-Regulation on Food Safety
As someone who has advocated strongly for enhanced food safety laws in the wake of deadly e-coli outbreaks, I believe
a plan by industry to implement a “voluntary marketing agreement” does little to reassure consumers the leafy greens
they eat are safe. Without state regulations and enforcement action, I believe the proposal amounts to little more than
the fox watching the hen house.

January 5, 2007
Irrigating Your Vegetables With Treated Sewage Water? Still Not a Good Idea if You Are Concerned About E. Coli
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.

March 23, 2007
Hiding the Ball on E. coli: What We Now Know About Spinach and Other Leafy Vegetables Grown in California
In the three months since my last article and six months since the first report of the September, 2006, Monterey County
spinach E. coli outbreak, not much apparently has been learned by government regulators, scientists and experts.
Despite several California State Senate hearings attempting to fact-find and get information from the Food and Drug
Administration (FDA), the State Department of Agriculture and State Department of Health Safety, we basically end up
with a lot of officials in suits shrugging their shoulders.

June 11, 2007. 11 comments. Topic: Food Safety
The California Push For Recycled Water is Complete With Pathogens Like E. coli
It seems the more we learn about the hazards of recycled water – tertiary treated sewage effluent – the more public
announcements are made about its increased use in California.

June 20, 2007. 1 comments. Topic: Food Safety
Beware of the Recycled Water Industry on Water Safety and E. Coli in California
When I am confronted by a commenter such as Earle Hartling on my last article, “The California Push For Recycled
Water is Complete With Pathogens Like E. coli”, who seems not to be aware of the current scientific literature and
attempts to dissemble and discredit the work of the scientific community, I try to find out about the poster’s background. I
did this with Earle.
FRANK PECARICH -COVERS THE RECLAIMED SEWAGE EFFLUENT CONTAMINATION OF PRODUCE IN CA.


Frank Pecarich retired from the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the US Bureau of Reclamation in 1987. During his 26
year federal career he worked as a soil scientist with the USDA on the now- published Soil Survey for Monterey
County.CA