These are excerpts from the stories. The writer did not do any research according to the PR campaign documents. What is worse, they sent out the documents to some people for comment, then refused to include any comments which corrected the document. Still, the writer included some interesting case material.
Table of Contents lntroductory Material • Foreword • Introduction • Reviewing the WEF/USEPA Biosolids Fact Sheet Project • Biosolids: A Short Explanation and Discussion Fact Sheets • Biosolids Recycling in West Texas In September 1993, a series of human errors in New York City and in Texas led to the application of nine rail containers of biosolids that had failed to meet the detention requirement for PSRP. MERCO reported the incident to TNRCC and was fined for violating its state registration.
MERCO and TNRCC tested the applied biosolids for pathogen indicators and determined the biosolids did not threaten human health or the environment. Although they received insufficient PSRP treatment, the pathogen concentrations in the measured biosolids were less than 2 million parts per gram - a level that proper PSRP is designed to achieve.
Nonetheless, to avoid future problems, the frequency of PSRP certification was increased from a monthly to weekly basis, and MERCO initiated the previously mentioned additional testing prior to biosolids departure from New York City.
In Texas, the regular testing for the presence of pathogen indicators has occasionally revealed varying levels above the federal and state regulatory limits, causing concern about pathogen regrowth during transport. However, an independent analysis by Alternative Resources, Inc., of Stroudsberg, Pa., determined that the variations were most likely caused by inconsistencies in the sampling and analytical methods at the five separate labs conducting the analysis.
• Biosolids Reuse in Southern California On the other hand, residents complained of thick dust, clouds of flies, allergic reactions, and concern about perceived groundwater pollution from the stockpiled biosolids and the separate composting operations. Others complained of headaches and nausea. Many residents said odors abated when composting stopped.
llegal Activity in Imperial County When Mount San Diego began to attract widespread attention, CCF compounded its imminent legal problems by land applying hundreds of truckloads of biosolids to farmland in Seeley, a town in Imperial County, California. The discovery of this activity, which clearly violated CCF’s contract with San Diego, led to the arrest of company officials.
CCF’s scheme was uncovered when KGTV-10, a local television news team, followed several Biosolids Fact Sheets Copyright (c) 2000 Water Environment Federation. All Rights Reserved. 3 trucks from the Fiesta Island drying facility to a farm in Seeley. A San Diego employee also pursued and videotaped the trucks. Under cover of night, the trucks dumped and spread full loads of biosolids on to the farm. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Californiaalleges that CCF sent hundreds of truckloads of biosolids to Seeley.
A long paper trail followed CCF’s actions in Seeley. The company allegedly paid out more than $36,000 in bribes and fees to haul and apply the biosolids to the farmland. In April 1993, CCF issued a check for $14,300 to Triple M Trucking as payment for delivery of 44 loads of Fiesta Island biosolids to Seeley. Later that month, CCF issued a check for $15,500 in the name of the wife of the individual who allowed Fiesta Island biosolids to be dumped on his land in Seeley. In March and May 1993, Cordon Cooper received forged weighmaster certificates and invoicesfrom Manuel Mier. The items indicated that Fiesta Island biosolids were shipped to Mexicali, Mexico. Also in
• Biosolids in Northern Washington State Does Linda Zander run an anti-biosolids group? On January 27, 1992, Linda Zander registered Help for Sewage Victims as a non-profit corporation in Washington. The purposes and mission of the group were explained as “networking, support of sewage victims, and help with 'investigation,’ 'legal responses,’ and 'prevention’.”
Who else joined the Zanders' suit against WSI, the towns, and the Van Dalens? Aside from farm owners Ray and Linda Zander, nine other people, mostly relatives of the Zanders, participated in the lawsuit against the biosolids generators and land appliers. All lived on the Zander farm. Co-plaintiffs included Linda Zander’s parents Biosolids Fact Sheets Copyright (c) 2000 Water Environment Federation. All Rights Reserved. 8 Carl and Glennis Vevag; Christopher Zander, the son of Ray and Linda, who grew shiitake mushrooms for profit on the farm; Ervin A. Hicks, a deceased employee of the Zander farm who allegedly received treatment for heavy metal poisoning; Deborah Condon, the Zanders’ widowed daughter; Robert Zander, Ray and Linda’s son; Della Zander, Robert’s wife; and Ashley and Diana Zander, the children of Robert and Della.
At times, the herd also experienced abortions, diarrhea, deformed leg tendons, and swollen joints, according to the Zanders. The veterinarians reviewed that data and examined the herd, determiningthat low reproduction rates and diarrhea were associated with poor quality grass silage. Grass silage was fed as the cows’ only forage for at least four weeks in 1990, and problems with the herd stopped when silage rations were discontinued. Some cattle illness and deaths also may have been the result of noncompliance with vaccination strategies, foot rot, poor bedding of cows and milking hygiene, or force in assisted calvings.
What about reports of cattle illness and death due to biosolids in other parts of the United States?
At least two other reports of biosolids contributing to cattle maladies have circulated among farmers and biosolids managers. In Vermont’ dairy farmer Robert Ruane allowed the City of Rutland to land apply 5.5 tons of biosolids per acre per year to his 99-acre farm for two years beginning in 1986. Ruane’s herd showed increased mortality, arthritis, abortions, and muscular problems. Ruane possessed few herd records, silage quality was poor, the recommended feeding program was largely ignored, and feeding practices did not meet National Research Council recommendations for lactating dairy animals, the Vermont Department of Agriculture found. Ruane kept his cattle off fields to which biosolids were recently applied.
In North Carolina, several cattle died after eating Bermuda grass from a land application site run by the City of Raleigh. The Bermuda grass was high in nitrates, as is common in grasses grown with any type of fertilizer. All farmers were told to mix the grass with hay or other material. The farmer who suffered the loss failed to mix the Bermuda grass with other feed. This management problem is the only recorded animal or human injury
• Biosolids and Miniature Horses in Oklahoma In one worst-case study conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the University of Maryland in Beltsville, Maryland, there was some damage to joints of cattle from high iron contained in biosolids applied directly onto forages and immediately grazed. In these studies, cattle were forced to graze forages that were treated each week with the high iron-containing biosolids.
A review of the autopsies of the dead miniature horses was conducted by Oklahoma City’s expert witness, John C. Haliburton of Veterinary Toxicology Consultants in Amarillo, Texas. He concluded that iron contained in Oklahoma City biosolids did not injure the horses. Instead, lesions he found on the livers and brains of the deceased horses suggested that the cause of death was two forms of equine leucoencephalomalacia (ELEM), a disease syndrome caused by fungus.
Both forms of ELEM are caused by a group of compound called fumonisins, which are classified as mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are compounds produced by mold, or fungi. The fungus which produces the toxic fumonisins is called Fusarium moniliforme, a common soil fungus. Fumonisins are found commonly in horse feed ingredients such as corn, oats, and wheat, as well as in many other environments conducive to mold. ELEM, however, is known only to occur in association with the consumption of corn.
• Can AIDS Be Transmitted by Biosolids? The dangers of HIV make experiments using the virus outside laboratory settings impossible, Federal law protects workers who may come in direct contact with wastewater residuals. The U.S. Department of Labor Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Bloodborne Pathogen Regulation, promulgated December 6, 1991, prevents potential infection of workers Biosolids Fact Sheets Copyright (c) 2000 Water Environment Federation. All Rights Reserved. 3 by many pathogens, including HIV. The law requires all employers to minimize worker exposure to potentially infectious body fluids and to inform employees of their risks of coming in contact with such materials in the workplace. The Bloodborne Pathogen Regulation can reduce the HIV risk at wastewater treatment facilities to zero. Johnson et al. concluded that wastewater treatment plant workers can eliminate the opportunity for all types of pathogen infection by wearing protective clothing and practicing workplace hygiene. Likewise, the Centers for Disease Control recommends protective clothing as a barrier to various infections.
• Biosolids and Bahamian Papaya Crops A farmer obtained funding from the U.S. government and a British investor to start a papaya plantation in Freeport, Grand Bahama. The farmer’s fertilization protocol called for application of the heat-dried biosolids fertilizer Milorganite. Instead, in 1986 and 1987, he obtained and land-applied biosolids from Metropolitan Dade County, Florida. A year after planting, many of the papaya plants yellowed and died. Although there was no scientific substantiation of the claim the Dade County biosolids were responsible for the death of the papaya crop, the farmer sued the county and won a $6.75-million judgment in May 1993. The case was settled out of court in June 1996.
• Biosolids Use in the Pacific Northwest King County paid $428,000, the estimated value and replanting costs of the affected trees, to Weyerhaeuser for reparations. In many of the impacted areas, scientists found Armillaria root disease and root weevils associated with more than 70 percent of the trees killed. Also contributing to the kill in those areas was the Douglas Fir beetle. In other affected areas, diseases and insects apparently accounted for only 30 percent of tree kill. In areas without insects and disease, the reduced soil aeration alone (due to the surface sealing of the biosolids) may have killed the trees. Douglas fir trees have many fine roots as well as larger roots. Fine roots are grow actively and require relatively greater quantities of oxygen to survive. They are the primary means by which the fir trees absorb water and nutrients. Fine root health was poor in all affected areas. Not only are weakened trees more susceptible to disease and damage from insects, they are also less able to recover from large animal damage. Contributory causes of death to the weakened trees probably included bear damage.
• Biosolids and Lou Gehrig’s Disease A series of 1987 newspaper articles alleged that application of the heat-dried biosolids fertilizer Milorganite may have caused athletes to contract amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig‘s disease. A neurologist alleged that high rates of ALS were observed around Milwaukee, Milorganite's largest market. Review of the data by a large group of federal, state, and local specialists dispelled all links between the fertilizer and the disease. Did Milorganite ever contain materials with the potential to harm humans or the environment? Milorganite contained relatively high levels of cadmium until the mid 1980s. As much as 80 percent of the cadmium in Milwaukee’s sewer system was traced to a single source, a Master Lock cadmium plating facility. The city’s 1981 wastewater pretreatment program, reduced cadmium levels in Milorganite from 140 mg/kg in 1980 to 3.08 mg/kg today. The pretreatment program limited sewer system users to daily cadmium discharges of 1.5 mg/l. From 1979 to 1992, Milorganite carried an approved, specific warning label alerting consumers to cadmium’s possible links to kidney disfunction and other disorders. The material was neither recommended for nor marketed toward residential gardens during this period, as ingestion from food crops is a primary pathway of cadmium intake by humans. Milorganite never was banned from designated uses before implementation of the pretreatment program. Relevant research asserts no link between ALS and cadmium.
• Biosolids Application to Federal Land In regard to biosolids land application, BLM’s greatest concern was federal liability for environmental contamination under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, or other environmental statutes. In 1990, as now, landowners accepting properly managed biosolids for land application are free of federal liability. No CERCLA sites have received Superfund designation due to biosolids land application.
A few Superfund sites do involve biosolids. A Wisconsin biosolids lagoon system built in the 1940s contained some biosolids with polychlorinated biphenyl concentrations above the 50 mg/kg federal regulatory limit. This material is currently managed under Super-fund, and biosolids exceeding the 50 mg/kg limit have not beenrecycled to agricultural land. Federal authorities never have alleged Superfund or other liability due to biosolids land application.
BLM made a conservative decision by attempting to forbid land application of biosolids. The Biosolids Fact Sheets Copyright (c) 2000 Water Environment Federation. All Rights Reserved. 3 Bureau expressed concern over possible poor management of biosolids by municipal authorities leading to environmental contamination and federal liability. A U.S. General Accounting Office report released around the time of BLM’s policy memorandum called into question quality control and other issues in state biosolids programs, fueling fears of “local incompetency.” BLM officials also contended that their staff could not possibly monitor the operations and impacts of biosolids land application projects strung out over 270 million acres of Bureau-managed land. In the face of strict enforcement of environmental regulations by U.S. EPA and state agencies at numerous locally operated waste-disposal sites on public lands, and harboring doubts about biosolids safety and management, BLM elected to opt out of biosolids use.
The Bureau responded in two parts to the Colorado proposals. First, Bernie Hyde, a BLM environmental policy expert at Bureau headquarters in Washington, D.C., rejected the proposals by speculating that biosolids constituted hazardous waste and jeopardized elk populations whichgrazed in the areas designated for land application. Second, Hyde requested a definitive policy on whether BLM should allow application of treated municipal biosolids on federally owned publiclands. Based on perceived risks associated with biosolids, U.S. DO1 prohibited use of biosolids on its public lands. The Bureau permitted sale of federal lands to municipalities for the purpose of biosolids application to commercial crops of non-food agricultural products if no other option of biosolids management was available.