EPA AND THE STATES DON'T WANT YOU TO KNOW THE ANSWERS
|This is not an environmental issue. It is about politics. It is about people fighting
for their lives and way of life. It is about protection the food supply. It is about a
fraudulent policy regulation with no basis in law. It is about medical doctors
who believe the EPA and states would not put peoples lives at risk. It is about
environmental organizations who promised they would not sue EPA if ocean
sludge disposal was banned. It is about land grant universities and colleges
who failed to do basic research before they agreed to do incomplete research to
push sludge disposal as a fertilizer. It is also about the next pandemic.
1. Q. IS SLUDGE/BIOSOLIDS SAFE FOR USE ON LAWNS, GARDENS AND
A. Federal Laws and regulations state exposure to the chemicals and disease organisms in
sludge/biosolids may (RCRA), will (CWA), could (503), cause death, disease, etc, through
air, water or food. So, why would local, state and federal regulators exposure us to this
hazardous toxic soup risk and lie to us about it? More important, why would EPA give
millions of dollars to scientists and other organizations to lie to us about the safety of
There has never been one completed study addressing health effects that included
organics, inorganics, and biological components, which states sludge/biosolids is safe
for human and animal or plant contact. But there have been a large number of studies,
those that will kill us and those that are killing us.
EPA's policy is to put the public at risk by the disposal of hazardous waste, including toxic
pollutant and biological contaminated sewage sludge, by claiming it is being recycled as a
fertilizer without any oversight. Could this be a policy to dispose of the old, the infirmed,
and the immune compromised individuals in our society? Will it create the next pandemic?
As a result of the policy, between 1990 and 1996 foodborne illnesses jumped from 6.5
million incidents to 81 million annually with 5,000 to 9,000 deaths. Currently, CDC says
the number is about 76 million foodborne illnesses annually.
2. Q. What happens now that States have changed their solid waste laws to comply with EPA's
503 sludge policy?
A. Now the states that fail to comply with federal law by changing the solid waste laws to
comply with the EPA's 503 sludge policy have a major problem. People are getting sick
and some are dying. The states don't want to accept the financial responsibility for the
sickness and deaths. Their only option is to stonewall citizens, conspire to discredit the
victims and claim there are no scientific studies to show harm to people.
They blame the victims for bad habits. They don't expect anyone to read the law or the
regulation. But they want more incomplete scientific studies to prove sludge is safe, while
they keep spreading disease, death and deceit. What we have is a deadly political
situation because the states have the federal responsibility to prevent these home lawn
and farmland Open Dumps under the RCRA and nonpoint sources of pollution under the
3. Q. Is there any relationship between the nine hazardous/toxic metals, which could kill you or
cause serious health damages, in part 503 and any other regulation?
A. Yes. These are the only hazardous/toxic pollutants EPA allows removal credits for when
disposed of outside a landfill under the pretreatment regulation, Appendix G to Part 403.
EPA only allows removal credits for 3 of the pollutants when disposed of in a Surface
4. Q. How did EPA and the states think they could get away with destroying farms and
spreading disease and death among farmers, their neighbors and home owners.
A. "EPA concluded that adequate protection of public health and the environment did not
require the adoption of standards designed to protect human health or the environment
under exposure conditions that are unlikely and where effects were not significant
or widespread." (FR. 58, p. 9252)
What EPA meant was the farming community comprises less than 2% of the population
and their was not enough votes to worry about. They figured farmers would not talk about
the contaminated land or food crops because it would destroy the land and crop value.
States enacted Food slander laws to prevent farmers and consumers from
complaining about foodborne illnesses caused by sludge/biosolid. They didn't figure
anyone would be able to find scientific proof to prove the point. They were wrong.
With Class A sludge/biosolids they could always blame foodborne illnesses on the cook
who did not wash her hands or cross contaminated the food, if the home owner
accidentally found out he bought unlabelled sludge as a fertilizer or soil amendment..
5. Q. Is sewage sludge a fertilizer, or soil amendment, for home lawns,
gardens or cropland?
A. No. If you purchase or accept free sludge/biosolids, you are betting your life, health,
as well as your neighbors, that Congress was wrong when it created the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act & Clean Water Act.
Under RCRA, due to the physical, chemical, and infectious characteristics -
Sludge/biosolids is a `hazardous waste'' , which may-- (A) cause, or significantly
contribute to an increase in mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or
incapacitating reversible, illness; or
(B) pose a substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment
when improperly treated, stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed.
Under the CWA, exposure to these toxic pollutants will cause death, disease, cancer etc.
Under the part 503 policy Guideline, exposure to these pollutants in sludge/biosolids
could cause disease, death, cancer, etc. (see item 10)
Using the Commercial fertilizer exclusion in the CERCLA as an excuse for
sludge/biosolids dumping on the public does not make it a safe fertilizer. It just means
the states can not ask for government help to clean up these Superfund sites if they
consider sludge to be a fertilizer.
6. Q. What is sewage sludge?
A. Sewage Sludge is a solid waste under the RCRA and a Pollutant under the CWA.
Sludge/biosolids is the concentrated organic & inorganic chemicals (hazardous
substances & toxic pollutants) and biological materials which settle out of raw sewage as
it moves through the sewage treatment process.
Sludge/biosolids under RCRA is a solid waste generated from a
municipal wastewater treatment plant. Public Laws. (1987). "The SOLID WASTE
DISPOSAL ACT, AS AMENDED BY, THE HAZARDOUS AND SOLID WASTE
AMENDMENTS OF 1984 ( PUBLIC LAW 98-616); THE SAFE DRINKING WATER ACT
AMENDMENTS OF 1986 (PUBLIC LAW 99-339); AND THE SUPERFUND
AMENDMENTS AND REAUTHORIZATION ACT OF 1986 (PUBLIC LAW 99-499)." 99th
Congress, 1st Session. Committee Print for S. Prt. 99-215.
(Citation furnished by EPA's John Dunn)
7. Q. Does EPA have an enforceable standard for organic and inorganic hazardous
substances/toxic pollutants in sludge/biosolids?
A. No. EPA does not have an enforceable standard for part 503. The numbers in the part
503 policy regulation (Guideline) are an average value of multiple samples.
EPA's standardized test method for hazardous substances/toxic pollutants (wet or dry) is
one sample/one value, by the liter (1,000 grams). As an example, lead is a hazardous
waste when five (5) ppm/L leaches out of the total waste stream.
Under the part 503 policy EPA admits its dry weight geometric average of multiple tests
using the designation, kilogram (1,000 grams) is not comparable or an enforceable
standard. As an example, total lead at an average of eight hundred forty (840) ppm is
presumed not to be a hazardous waste in liquid or dry form.
The accepted conversion is 20 to 1 of leachable lead, which makes this average value a
very hazardous waste at forty-two (42) ppm.
8. Q. Does EPA have an enforceable standard to judge if the biological contaminates
(bacteria, viruses, etc) in sludge may be a public contact health hazard when
disposed of as a fertilizer?
A. No. While EPA does have enforceable fecal coliform standards for Drinking Water and
Surface water, part 503 numbers for fecal coliform are average values based on
EPA claims to use fecal coliform bacteria as an indicator for the more deadly
pathogenic bacteria, viruses etc.in sludge. However, it does not indicate the quality or
quantity of the deadly pathogenic organisms in sludge. As an example, one soil sample
in Kansas City showed fecal coliform at 30,000 bacteria per 1,000 grams of soil while
Salmonella was in excess of 8 million bacteria.
9. Q. Does EPA have a safe contact standard for coliform bacteria in soil or
A. No. EPA has no standards for coliform or any other deadly pathogen in soil and has no
idea of what the levels of pathogens are in sludge at finally disposal.
While the standard for coliform bacteria in sample of surface water is 200/100 ml/L, EPA
averages multiple samples of coliform bacteria in sludge by the gram/1,000 grams/K.
Surface Water standard is (200 bacteria /100 ml/ x 10 = 2,000 bacteria per each 1,000
EPA policy allows up to one million coliform (1,000/1gram x 1,000 = 1,000,000/K
geometric average) in Class A sludge/bisolids.
EPA policy allows up to two billion (2,000,000/1gram x 1,000 = 2,000,000,000/K
geometric average) in Class B sludge/biosolids.
EPA knows that there will be explosive regrowth of bacteria if sludge/biosolids is not
injected in the ground or covered within 14 hours after leaving the treatment process.
§ 503.33(b)(9)(i) Sewage sludge shall be injected below the surface of the land.
(iii) When the sewage sludge that is injected below the surface of the land is Class A
with respect to pathogens, the sewage sludge shall be injected below the land surface
within eight hours after being discharged from the pathogen treatment process.
(10)(ii) When sewage sludge that is incorporated into the soil is Class A with respect
to pathogens, the sewage sludge shall be applied to or placed on the land within eight
hours after being discharged from the pathogen treatment process.
10. Q. Has EPA completed a risk assessment for the biological materials in
A. No. EPA claims to rely on management practices and site restrictions. EPA can not
do a risk assessment because many of the pathogens when stressed create
endospores and can not be cultured. When some of the pathogens are killed, they create
dangerous endotoxins. Not only that but multiple drug resistant bacteria are created
during the sewage treatment process
11. Q. Has EPA completed a risk assessment for all the organics in sludge/biosolids?
A. No. EPA only looked at 13 organics which where not included in the 503 policy
because they were either banned, restricted for use or no longer manufactured for
use in the United States. EPA claims it does not have data on many chemicals.
12. Q. Has EPA completed a risk assessment for all the inorganics in sludge/biosolids?
A. No. EPA considered the part 503 metals (pollutants) to be noncarcinogens (they do
not cause or induce cancer) for the exposure pathways evaluated. (Guide to the Part
503 Risk Assessment, Chapt 6, p. 110)
13. Q. Is there any evidence that any of the part 503 metals are carcinogens?
. A. Yes. EPA has confirmed that Arsenic, Berylium, Cadmium, Chromium 6 and Nickel are
carcinogens when inhaled in dust. (Preamble to the Proposed Part 503 - Federal
Register Vol. 54, No. 23, p. 5777)
14. Q. Is there any documentation to suggest that exposure to pollutants in sludge/biosolids
could cause health or environmental damage?
A. Yes. Based on information available to the EPA Administrator the nine inorganic
pollutants in the 503 sludge/biosolids policy, could cause death, disease, behavioral
abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions (including
malfunction in reproduction), or physical deformations, upon exposure, ingestion,
inhalation, or assimilation into an organism either directly from the environment or
indirectly by ingestion through the food chain. The administrator has the same
information available for an organic substance, an inorganic substance, a combination
of organic and inorganic substances, or a pathogenic organism that, was not included
in the 503 policy. (40 CFR 503.9(t))
15. Q. Is Class A sludge/biosolids treated to standards which make it safe for human contact
as a fertilizer/soil amendment for lawns and gardens, school yards and parks?
A. No. While so called Class A biosolids may be composted, heated dried or mixed with
lime, EPA policy allow up to an average of one million (1,000,000) fecal coliform
bacteria (-1) for each one thousand (1,000) grams (kilogram) of biosolids. (40 CFR
503.32(a)(3) allows 1,000 fecal coliform (geometric average) per one gram of biosolids)
During the treatment process many stressed pathogens create hard protective shells
which dissolve after disposal and exposure to the environment.
16. Q. Is exceptional quality Class A sludge/biosolids treated to standards which make it safe
for human contact as a fertilizer/soil amendment for lawns and gardens?
A. No. This is an EPA policy concept based on limiting the total amount of a few very
dangerous inorganic (metals) toxic pollutants in sludge. Many other toxic pollutants
(including bacteria and chromium 6) could be at extremely high hazardous levels.
17. Q. Why do you think bacteria and chromium 6 could be at extremely high levels in
exceptional quality sludge/biosolids?
A. There could still be an average over one million coliform bacteria, unknown quantities of
uncultureable pathogens (non-detectable) per one thousand grams of biosolids. EPA's
503 policy originally allowed 3,000 parts per million (ppm) of chromium in what it
playfully calls biosolids. Now it is unlimited. Part of the 503 policy concerns sludge only
surface disposal sites which restricts chromium disposal to 260 ppm 50 to 75 meters
from the surface disposal site boundary. (40 CFR 503.23 Table 2)
18. Q. Does EPA have any reliable tests on the plant uptake of Chromium 6?
A. No. During the Federal court case Leather Industries of America vs EPA, EPA admitted
it only had a few pot studies and had no confidence in them.
19. Q. Is Class B sewage sludge/biosolids treated to a standard which makes it safe to spread
on cropland, grazing land and forest?
A. No. EPA's 503 policy allows an average of up to two billion (2,000,000,000) fecal
coliform bacteria and unknown quantities of deadly pathogens for each one thousand
(1,000) grams (kilogram) of sewage sludge (dry weight).
(40 CFR 503.32(b)(2)(ii) allows 2,000,000 fecal coliform per gram of sludge/biosolids)
20. Q. Is Class B sewage sludge disposed of as a dry material?
A. No. Generally it is disposed of as the condensed liquid of raw sewage with only 2 to 6
percent solids. While the policy calls for the liquid to be injected, some simply dump the
liquid on the ground or use an irrigation spray system which creates bioaersols. Some
Class B may be disposed of at up to 75% solids.
21. Q. Is sludge safe for Food crops, feed crops, and fiber crops to be harvested 30 days
after application of sewage sludge as the EPA policy allows in 503.32(b)(5)(iv)?
A.. No. Food crops was arbitrarily added to this section in the 1993 revision..
503.32(5) spells out the original restrictions which would prevent sludge use:
(i) Food crops with harvested parts that touch the
sewage sludge/soil mixture and are totally above the land surface shall not be
harvested for 14 months after application of sewage sludge.
(ii) Food crops with harvested parts below the surface of the land shall not be
harvested for 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
(iii) Food crops with harvested parts below the surface of the land shall not be
harvested for 38 months after application of sewage sludge when the sewage sludge
remains on the land surface for less than four months prior to incorporation into the
22. Q. Is it safe to graze animals on sludged pastures after 30 days?
A. No. USDA reported to EPA in 1973 that lime mixed with sludge only made Salmonella
undetectable for about 30 days then there was an explosive regrowth of bacteria. The
stressed uncultureable (nondetectable) bacteria became viable again.
Proceedings of the Joint Conference on Recycling Municipal Sludges and Effluent on
Land, July 9-13-1973, pp. 39-47. Sponsored by EPA, USDA, and National
Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges.
The infamous OHIO Study reported a direct infectious Salmonella connection from
humans to sludge to pastures to animals and back to humans.
23 .Q Is there any law which would prohibit the disposal of sludge/biosolids on crop and
A Yes. Under the Clean Water Act, (7) it is the national policy that programs for the
control of nonpoint sources of pollution be developed and implemented in an
expeditious manner so as to enable the goals of this chapter to be met through the
control of both point and nonpoint sources of pollution.
24. Q. Would dumping sludge/biosolids on crop and grazing land be considered to create a
nonpoint source of pollution?
A. Yes. Sludge/biosolids is a solid waste under the RCRA and a pollutant under
the CWA. The organic and inorganic chemicals are hazardous substances
under the RCRA and toxic pollutants under the CWA with the potential to
cause death, disease, cancer etc, and runoff the site.
25. Q. Why didn't EPA's Office of Water use the official term "Toxic Pollutant" in Part 503?
A. According to EPA, "The term "toxic pollutant" is not used in the final part 503 regulation
because this generally is limited to the list of priority toxic pollutants developed by
EPA. The Agency concluded that Congress intended that EPA develop the part 503
pollutant limits for a broader range of substances that might interfere with the use
and disposal of sewage sludge, not just the 126 priority pollutants." (FR. 58, 32, p. 9327)
26. Q. How could EPA and the states turn our crop and grazing land into nonpoint sources
A. EPA's sludge policy is taking advantage of the statutory agricultural exclusion for
contaminated runoff. It also takes advantage of a commercial fertilizer exclusion in
the CERCLA. Between the treatment plant and the farm, it is a hazardous
material under the DOT rules.
27. Q. What happens if no one will accept sludge/biosolids as a fertilizer?
A. According to EPA, "When sewage sludge is not used to condition the soil or to
fertilize crops or vegetation grown on the land, the sewage sludge is not being land
applied. It is been disposed of on the land. In that case, the requirements in the
subpart on surface disposal in the final part 503 must be met." (FR. 58, 32, p. 9330)
28. Q. Is there any major differences between the management practices of a beneficial use
site and a surface disposal site under 503?
A. Yes. For beneficial use liquid sludge/biosolids there are no runoff controls and it can
be applied up to 10 meters from the waters of the United States. If it is put in a
sludge/biosolids only surface disposal site 503.24(g)(1) Run-off from an active sewage
sludge unit shall be collected and shall be disposed in accordance with National Pollutant
Discharge Elimination System permit requirements and any other applicable
requirements. (2) The run-off collection system for an active sewage sludge unit shall
have the capacity to handle run-off from a 24-hour, 25-year storm event.
29. Q. Can crops be grown and cattle grazed on a surface disposal site?
A. Yes. However, A food crop, a feed crop, or a fiber crop shall not be grown on or cattle
crazed on an active sewage sludge unit, unless the owner/operator of the surface
disposal site demonstrates to the permitting authority that through management
practices public health and the environment are protected from any reasonably
anticipated adverse effects of pollutants in sewage sludge when crops are grown.
30. Q. Is there a difference between the land treatment of sludge under the solid waste
regulation 40 CFR 257 and the beneficial use of sludge under the 503 policy
A. Yes. The most important difference is that there can be no runoff from a land
treatment sludge site under 257, just as there can be no runoff from a surface disposal
site under 503. Both prohibit the high levels of certain toxic pollutants allowed in
beneficial use. We looked at chromium in item 13.
Beneficial use Cadmium disposal rates can not disposed of on a land treatment
site under § 257.3-5 where food chain crops are grown. As an example:
(ii) The annual application of cadmium from solid waste does not exceed 0.5 kilograms
per hectare (kg/ha) on land used for production of tobacco, leafy vegetables or root
crops grown for human consumption.
EPA allows 4 times that amount for beneficial use.
Table 4 of § 503.13_Annual Pollutant Loading Rates
EPA has no Cadmium limits for a surface disposal site where food chain crops are
grown. § 503.23 Pollutant limits (other than domestic septage).(a) Active sewage
sludge unit without a liner and leachate collection system.
31. Q. Does the intent to recycle sludge justify taking sludge/biosolids outside the
A. NO. "Under RCRA solid waste do not cease to be solid waste simply because they are
being used, re-used, recycled or reclaimed. Rather, use, re-use, recycling, resource
recovery and reclamation are ways of managing solid waste, which, if properly
conducted, can avoid environmental hazards, protect scarce land supply, and reduce
the nation's reliance on foreign energy and materials ---Congress' "Overriding
concern" --elimination of "the last remaining loophole" in environmental regulation" (H.
31. Q. Who is responsible if sludge/biosolids disposal contaminates our home lawns and crop
land to the level of Superfund sites.
A. The ultimate insult to Congress and the American public was given in a letter to
Congressman Conduit, dated October 1, 1993, by Martha G. Prothro, (EPA) Acting
Assistant Administrator. She states that, "If the placement of sludge on land were
considered to be "the normal application of fertilizer"--it--"would not give rise to
CERCLA liability for the municipality generating the sewage sludge, the land applier, the
land user or the land owner."