Kern sludge ban clears first Assembly committee

For Immediate Release                                      Jennifer Hanson

June 14, 2005                                                    916-445-4641

Kern sludge ban clears first Assembly committee

Florez credits bi-partisan cooperation of McCarthy with moving Senate Bill 926 forward

SACRAMENTO -  A measure by Senator Dean Florez, D-Shafter, to help end the dumping of
Southern California’s treated human waste -- or sludge - on Kern County fields moved one step
closer to approval by the California State Assembly.

Senate Bill 926 passed the Assembly Committee on Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials
this afternoon by a vote of 4-1, with Florez thanking Assembly Republican Leader Kevin
McCarthy for his efforts to move the measure through the lower house of the Legislature.

“It’s encouraging to see this more widely understood as a public health issue as SB 926 moves
forward,” Florez said.  “Kevin’s leadership in helping the measure navigate the Assembly shows
members this is a regional issue of bi-partisan concern, about public health and not politics.”

“I am pleased to see this bill advance through the Legislature,” McCarthy said.  “I will continue to
work with Senator Florez and my colleagues in the Assembly to protect Kern County from sludge

Senate Bill 926 would allow Kern County to ban or further regulate the importation of sewage
sludge, euphemistically known as biosolids, into the county for land application.  The county,
which only generates 2% of the state’s sewage sludge, receives one-third all biosolids that are
land-applied in California, most from Los Angeles, Orange and Ventura counties.

Sludge is applied to fields, including those used for grazing by dairy cattle and fields which lie
above the groundwater table, even though sludge may contain heavy metals, carcinogens and
pharmaceuticals.  Sewage sludge also caused the death of 300 cattle in Georgia.  

Valley residents concerned that the decades-old practice of dumping Southern California waste
on Kern County fields may have long-term effects on their health and land have joined Florez in
supporting a ban on the import of sewage sludge.  Even the EPA has stated not enough
scientific evidence is available to guarantee the safety of land-applied sludge.  

Eight Kern County cities and the Kern County Board of Supervisors have already thrown their
support behind SB 926.  The bill is co-authored by Kern County legislators from both major
political parties, as well as top urban leaders.  Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata is the joint
author of the bill, with Florez.