Deadly Deceit  
                                         CHAPTER 2

                           The Crap Game

When EPA wrote the 503 sludge regulation, its major

intent was not to protect our health and prevent any harm to

the environment but to benefit the sewage treatment plants

faced with the problem of disposal of millions of tons of

sludge.  Its all a big fixed crap game, municipalities and

state regulators, have been bribed into helping EPA promote

sludge as a beneficial fertilizer product, not with personal

gain, but with state and municipal funding, relaxed or no

enforcement of federal laws and no apparent liability for the

disposal of sewage sludge.

In EPA's push to promote sludge use as a fertilizer, the

Agency has made beneficial use more cost effective for

municipalities than surface or landfill disposal. This

encouraged POTWs (Public Owned Treatment Works) to shift from

other disposal methods to beneficial land application.

Basically, what this amounted to was a name change and

deregulation.  As an example, one of the expenses POTWs who

used sludge beneficially would not have was groundwater


In 1991, Part 258 municipal landfill regulation

identified eight metals to be analyzed by the POTWs during

the first phase of ground water monitoring: Arsenic, barium,

cadmium, chromium, lead, mercury, selenium, and silver. --

copper, nickel and zinc were added as well as antimony,

beryllium, cobalt, thallium, and vanadium ---because the

Agency believes that the metals pose serious threats to human

health and the environment.  Yet, no ground water monitoring

is required for beneficial use. According to the EPA:

Because of the expense of installing ground-water

monitering wells, the Agency determined that most POTWs

reporting in the NSSS [National Sewage Sludge Survey]

incorporated sewage sludge into the land for disposal

[called dedicated land application in the NSSS] would

shift to land application rather than continue to use

the land strictly for disposal. (58 FR p. 9374)

For all practical purposes there is no difference

between a beneficial land application site and a surface

disposal site. In reality, more pollutants can be disposed of

on a beneficial sludge use site than can be placed on a

surface disposal site. Therefore, it is clear, the only

purpose of benefical sludge use is that it is a cheap

unregulated method of disposal.  As an example, according to

EPA's cost benefit plan:

Most of the management practices (for surface disposal

under part 503) are very similar to those in Part 257

and are expected to result in negligible cost.  However,

unlined surface disposal units (which all are assumed to

be) are unlikely to be certified that they will not

contaminate the ground water. Thus EPA assumes ground-

water monitoring must be performed. The total cost to

plan the monitoring program, install the monitoring

wells, and sample and test ground water is expected to

total 1.5 million per year. (58 FR p. 9375)

What all the double speak says is that EPA is fully

aware that unlined dedicated surface sludge disposal sites do

cause ground water contamination.  However, changing the name

from a dedicated surface disposal site to a benefical sludge

use site would eliminate the requirement for ground water

monitoring. This does not prevent ground water contamination,

it only prevents the discovery of the ground water

contamination until people start having health problems and

animals start getting sick and dying.

Under the final Part 503 concept, EPA spelled out how

the choice was to be determined whether to place the sludge

in a dedicated surface disposal site or beneficially use it

as a fertilizer.  According to EPA:

When the 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 being

disposed of on the land. In that case, the requirements

in the subpart on surface disposal in the final Part 503

regulation must be met.

Benefical use is being made more attractive to the

treatment plants as a fertilizer rather than surface disposal

because there are no controls, little paperwork, and no

permit requirements.  Nor is there any requirement to prevent

pollutants in surface water run-off from contaminating

adjacent land or water as there is with a surface disposal


Prior to Part 503, many municipalities disposed of

sludge as a solid waste in municipal landfills as required by

federal law. According to federal law, "Solid waste means any

garbage, or refuse, sludge from a wastewater treatment plant,

water supply treatment plant, or air pollution control

facility and other discarded material.

Basically, it was impossible for the states and

municipilities to comply even with the risk assessment

requirements of the solid waste co-disposal sludge

regulation. Since both Part 258 and Part 503 were self-

permitting, the choice of disposal method was simple. Sludge

was going to be disposed of as a fertilizer.

Since its issuance, the Part 503 sludge rule has

generated scientific controversy. Although the Wastewate

Division of EPA claims its regulations are stringent enough

to protect the American people and the environment from harm

from the land application of sewage sludge, their claim has

been challenged not only by environmental groups but by

scientists, some even within the EPA, and certain media.  CNN

aired a three part expose on the hazards of sewage sludge to

our food supply, entitled "Hazardous Harvest," on June 25,

26, 27, of 1997.  Lou Dobbs of CNN Moneyline began "Hazardous

Harvest" with the statement:

Its an unpleasant subject but it could effect the health

of every American--sewage sludge--human and industrial

waste. We generate 23 thousand tons of it every single

day.  By Federal Law that sludge can no longer be dumped

in the ocean. The solution according to the

Environmental Protection Agency is to take the same

sludge that is too dirty for the ocean, change its name

to biosolids and sprinkle it on farmland as fertilizer.

This policy of the EPA of using biosolids on cropland

raised many troubling questions for CNN about human and

environmental safety.  They referred to sludge as a "dirty

business, its made from everything you flush down the toilet

and everything industry puts down the drain."

The question CNN did not elaborate on in its expose was

why ocean dumping was stopped. According to Senate Report No.

199-431, there were serious problems with ocean dumping at

the 12 mile site off New York City and the same problems

occurred when ocean dumping was moved to the 106 mile site.

The adverse impacts at the site the report documented were:

Bacterial contamination and closure of shellfish areas;

elevated levels of toxic metals and organohalogens in

bottom sediments in and near the site including known

fishing areas and within five nautical miles of coastal

beaches; community changes (decreases) in relative

abundance and diversity of species; sublethal toxicity

effects in economically valuable species;

bioaccumulation of certain metals and organohalogens in

fish and shellfish.

Furthermore, according to the Senate Report:

With the onset of large scale dumping of sewage sludge

at the 106 mile site in 1987, fishermen began to

complain of significant decreases in catches and

incidences of diseased fish which were previously not

found at these depths. Some of the diseased fish have a

shell disease which is associated with sewage sludge and

pollution in coastal waters. This disease was found

around the 12 mile site.

According to the Senate Report, "Scientists are just

beginning to explore the impacts that sludge dumping may be

having on marine resources in the area potentially effected

by sludge dumping at the 12 mile site."

As can be seen from the brief excerpt from the Senate

Report, ocean dumping of sewage sludge with its bacterial

contamination, toxic heavy metals and toxic organic chemicals

created havoc in the ocean environment. So much so that the

European nations have now banned ocean dumping for the same

reasons.  This same product that polluted the ocean is now

being, with the approval of the EPA, liberally spread on

farmland throughout America and sold in unlabeled bags as a

fertilizer for lawns and gardens.  The EPA is proposing the

same type of solution for the European nations who have been

very protective of their farmland.

The argument is often used by promoters of sewage sludge

for land application that its harmful effects are diluted

when it is mixed in with the soil.  In other words dilution

is the solution to pollution.  If this held true why was the

ocean polluted by the sludge?  After all how much more

dilution was there?

On CNN Money Line, Lou Dobbs cut to the quick showing

that what the sludge issue boils down to is economics. Hugh

Kaufman (whistleblower whose testimony to Congress brought

down the top people in the Reagan EPA and a jail sentence of

six months and five years community service for his boss,

Rita Lavelle) reiterates this when he said to a Citizens

Forum on Environmental and Health Concerns from Landspreading

of Sewage and Paper Mill Sludges on November 15, 1997:

My views are grounded on the reality of science and

engineering, and not on politics of saving major

corporations millions of dollars or making millionaires

of quick buck artists in the waste disposal business. We

just deal with the issues.  The reality is, as you saw

on CNN Money Line, there are billions of dollars each

year for wastewater treatment plants to save, and

billions of dollars each year for waste disposal

companies to earn if they can find cheap disposal for

sewage sludge.  Sewage sludge is not just human waste.

Sewage sludge is also industrial waste.  Sewage sludge

can contain, and does, radioactive materials, toxic

organic materials, halogenated hydrocarbons, and toxic

heavy metals, the preponderance of which come from

industrial discharge.

William Sanjour, whistleblower who worked for the EPA

for twenty years puts in perspective the sludge issue when he

says, "Waste management has been the growth industry of the

eighties and is likely to continue into the nineties.  The

industry has grown very rich through its ability to control

the governments who are supposed to be controlling it, and it

shares its wealth with its benefactors." He adds:

Bureaucrats learn that crossing the industry can get one

into a lot of trouble, whereas cooperating with them has

many rewards including the hope of lucrative employment.

Scores of federal and state employees have already done

so including former administrators of EPA.  Many others

have gotten high paying jobs in law firms representing

the hazardous waste industry and other companies such as

consulting firms and engineering firms with industry


Many honest EPA scientists have found that if they dare

to speak out against unethical or illegal conduct or of a

practice that they believe is harmful, they become the object

of a campaign to destroy their reputation and their

livelihood. One of these scientists was Dr. Willian Marcus.

When William Marcus, Ph. D., Chief Toxicologist, Office of

Drinking Water of USEPA, disagreed publicly with his

superiors over the published results of the National

Toxicology Program study of the effect of fluoride on the

production of cancer in experimental rats, he was fired by

the EPA.  According to Marcus, the results were downgraded so

that the ability of the chemical agent to cause cancer could

be an equivocal cause rather than a probable cause.

It took a bitter court battle before Dr. Marcus was

finally reinstated. During the court case it came out that

his superiors had falsified records in an attempt to get rid

of him. Michael D. Kohn, General Counsel and Stephen M.

Kohn, Chairperson of the National Whistleblower Center in

their statement as Co-counsel for Dr. Marcus describes what

they call the outrageous action of the Inspector General


During our investigation, we soon learned that the EPA

IG had engaged in unethical and illegal conduct aimed at

setting Dr. Marcus up for discharge. We were

particularly troubled when our investigation proved that

the IG investigation was first initiated by

multinational chemical corporation, Velsicol, which Dr.

Marcus planned to testify against in a civil trial

concerning whether Velsicol was responsible for causing

cancer in people exposed to chemicals it had

manufactured.  The IG worked with lawyers for Velsicol

throughout its four year inquiry.

   When EPA's IG learned that Dr. Marcus was going to

investigate the IG records, IG agents pulled from the

file the actual notes of over seventy interviews they

had conducted and shredded them.  This destruction of

evidence occurred at a point in time when the IG knew

that Dr. Marcus had filed a law suit, had filed a FOIA

request for the documents and that a Congressional

Subcommittee was investigating the facts surrounding Dr.

Marcus's termination. This conduct violated a number of

federal criminal and civil laws. Nonetheless, EPA took

no action against the IG responsible for this illegal


According to the counsels, when during the two week

trial, it was brought out that documents had been falsified

in an attempt to discredit Dr. Marcus and that the IG

attempted to cover up evidence that Dr. Marcus's supervisors

wanted him fired, because of his whistleblowing on the

scientific misconduct in the Office of Drinking Water, the

case against him fell apart. U.S Department of Labor

Administrative Law Judge, David A. Clarke, Jr., not only

ordered his reinstatement with full back pay, and payment of

his attorney fees, but also ordered $50,000 in damages for

emotional distress. On February 7, 1994 the United States

Secretary of Labor upheld the decision.

In the National Whistleblower's News, Dr. Marcus puts

into perspective the terrible dilemma honest scientists face.

"My family suffered mightily", Marcus says, "But what of the

scientists who are timid and feel that their first loyalty is

to their families? This is the chilling effect that my

experience at EPA has had on my fellow scientists." He asks,

how can the public be protected when people charged with that

mission are afraid that telling an unpopular truth results in


When Dr. Cate Jenkins, a chemist in EPA's Office of

Solid Waste and Emergency Response, reported to the

Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Science

Advisory Board her discovery which showed Monsanto had

falsified data used to support their claim that dioxin did

not cause cancer in humans, it was she, instead of Monsanto,

who was punished. EPA had relied on the Monsanto data to set

health standards for dioxin.  In the memo re: "Newly Revealed

Fraud by Monsanto in an Epidemiological Study Used by EPA to

Assess Human Health Effects from Dioxins", February 23, 1990,

to the Chairperson, she asked the board to reopen the matter

of the standards for dioxins set by the EPA. To this memo to

support her discovery of fraud by Monsanto, Dr. Jenkins had

attached 25 pages of a brief filed in a case in the Appellate

Court of Illinois, Fifth District. The brief was prepared by

attorneys, who were suing Monsanto on behalf of plaintiffs

who claimed they were harmed when a Norfolk and Western

railroad tank car derailed, spilling 19,000 gallons of a

Monsanto chemical called "OCP-"crude into the community of

Sturgeon, Illinois the night of January 10, 1979. According

to the court documents, two Monsanto scientists, J. A. Zack

and R.W. Gaffey, had manipulated data to show no significant

effect from exposure to dioxin. They had compared the health

of workers, who were exposed to dioxins in the herbicide 2,4,

5-T in an explosion at a Monsanto chemical factory in Nitro,

West Virginia in 1949 to unexposed workers.  The court

documents charge "Zack and Gaffey deliberately and knowingly

omitted 5 deaths from the exposed group and took four workers

who had been exposed and put these workers in the unexposed

group, serving, of course, to decrease the death rate in the

exposed group and increase the death rate in the unexposed

group." According to the same court document other studies

including a study by R. R. Suskind in the Journal of the

American Medical Association of this same accident were also

fraudulent. "This published study of the workers exposed in

the 1949 accident reported only 14 cancers in the exposed

group and 6 in the unexposed group (a smaller cohort).

However, the medical records produced [by Monsanto] to the

Plaintiffs conclusively prove gross miscalculations and

omissions..there were 28 cancers in the group that had been

exposed to dioxins in 1949 as opposed to only 2 cancers in

the unexposed group."

Following her memo to the Science Advisory Board

exposing the fraudulent studies, which had been published in

leading journals, Dr. Jenkins was given no further

assignments for almost two years. Finally, in April 1992, Dr.

Jenkins, who has a Ph. D. in Chemistry was given clerical

work to do. When she filed a complaint with the Department of

Labor, they found in her favor.  EPA appealed the decision to

an administrative lawyer who also ruled in Dr. Jenkins'

favor. The EPA appealed again to the Secretary of Labor who

eventually found in her favor. After a long period of

harassment, she was finally reinstated and her attorney fees

were paid.

According to Sanjour, "Rather than the environmental

enthusiastics who flocked to EPA in its early years, the

Agency is now full of "careerists" who view EPA as a stepping

stone to bigger and better things." (p. 18) Sanjour makes a

very salient point as to why EPA is the way it is when he

says, "It should be perfectly clear that a person cannot

serve the public faithfully in a regulatory agency if he

views the agency as a stepping stone to a better paying job

with the people he regulates." (p.20)

Sanjour says that there is a revolving door between the

top level EPA employees and the waste management industry

they are supposed to regulate.  He cites several examples to

prove his point.  The first example was William D.

Ruckelshaus, who was EPA Administrator twice.  After leaving

EPA in 1985, Ruckelshaus formed a consulting firm with

industrial clients and was appointed to Browning-Ferris's

board of directors five weeks after EPA filed a 70 million

dollar lawsuit against the firm.  He was then hired by an

organization calling itself the Coalition on Superfund, whose

purpose was to weaken the Superfund law by removing strict

liability standards on polluters. That has been accomplished

with Part 503 now that the clean-up of Superfund sites are

being done through the sewage treatment plants.  According to

Sanjour, "The coalition included such Superfund polluters and

their insurers as: Monsanto, Occidental Petroleum, Alcoa, Dow

Chemical, AT&T, du Pont, Union Carbide, Aetna Insurance, and

Travelers Insurance." William Reilly, then head of the

Conservation Foundation, and Lee Thomas, his hand-picked

successor as administrator of EPA, helped him.

Ruckelshaus later left his own consulting firm to become

chief executive officer of Browning Ferris at a guaranteed

salary of $1,000,000 annually. When he became environmental

advisor to George Bush, he was able to install his protege,

William Reilly, as administrator of EPA and the former vice

president of William D. Ruckelshaus Associates, Henry

Habicht, as deputy administrator.  "Thus the head of a

company which is: a) a major polluter, b) heavily regulated

by EPA, c) a principal responsible party for many superfund

sites, and d) a contractor for EPA superfund cleanups, has

placed the two top executives at EPA," he says.  When Douglas

M. Costle left his job as EPA administrator in 1981, he and

three of his aids formed Environmental Testing and

Certification Laboratory in New Jersey which had as its

clients, EPA and Waste Management Inc. Two years later,

Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) was added to the client


He adds further, "The great liberal dream of

establishing powerful institutions to protect and perfect our

lives turns out to be just the same old nightmare of

corruption and abuse."

As a result of these backdoor political shennagans, the

EPA created the Part 503 regulation; it is a unique

regulation, it is based on several exclusions and exemptions

in the laws: 1) the domestic sewage exclusion for hazardous

waste in the sewer pipes to the treatment plant; 2) the

exemption for commercial fertilizer in the Superfund Act; 3)

the statutory exemption for contaminated agricultural surface

water run-off; and 4) the lack of any enforceable soil

standard for pollutants.  Based on these exclusions, EPA is

authorizing the clean up of hazardous waste Superfund Sites

by piping the waste into treatment plants. The concentrated

sludge from the treatment process will either be disposed of

on food crop production land or perhaps on your lawn.

At the New Hampshire conference, Kaufman pointed out how

economic interests had caused the revision of the 1989

proposed 503 Sludge Rule which he said were similar to the

rest of the developed world--Canada, Germany and other

European countries. He says:

As a result of that proposed regulation, politicians

from all over the country started to pressure EPA--a

young senator, Al Gore from Tennessee, the head of the

Environment Protection Agency in New York City--all of

them implying and/or stating directly that they could

not land apply their sludge if EPA promulgated the

regulations that were similar to the rest of the

developed world. So what EPA did was, they did a survey

of most of the big city sludges to determine the highest

levels of contaminates in those sludges, and then they

modified the proposals so that all the big city sludges

would be allowed to land apply their sludge.  And the

first act of the Clinton/Gore Administration was to

publish in the Federal Register and implement those

regulations that would allow New York City sludge to be

land applied every other place. Only a few of the toxic

materials that were in the sludge are regulated, and the

levels that were set for land application were high

enough so that all cities--Knoxville, Nashville, New

York--would pass.

Once the proposed Part 503 regulation was promulgated,

it had to go out for public comments and be peer reviewed.

One has only to look at the composition of the Peer Review

Committee and who paid for it to see how biased it was in

favor of beneficial use. According to the Federal Register,

the Peer Review Committee consisted of the following people

and their organizations, EPA, USDA, Land Grant Colleges,

municipal treatment plants, and industry. The Association of

Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) and the Water

Environment Federation (WEF) contributed to travel expenses

(58 FR 9267). The AMSA and the WEF membership are composed of

wastewater treatment plant management, engineering companies,

equipment suppliers, waste management industry, etc.

Representating EPA on the Peer Review Committee were:

Dr. John Walker, a physical scientist, who has built his

career around promoting the use of sewage sludge as a

fertilizer, first with USDA, and then as an EPA employee.

Walker's expertise on the committee included processes,

management practices and metal bioavailability.  Walker was

also aware by 1973 that the lime treatment process did not

destroy pathogenic organisms.

Dr. Robert Bastian, a biologist, according to 1998

documents, also served on the Part 503 Peer Review Committee.

Bastian's expertise on the committee was listed as; sludge

processing, management practices and regulatory impacts.  Dr.

James Ryan and Dr. Joseph Farrell, were also on the Part 503

Peer Review Committee. Ryan's expertise was metal

bioavailability and organic bioavailability. Ryan was 1 of 5

people on the committee listed with organic bioavailability

expertise. Farrell was the only person listed with any

expertise in pathogens.

USDA was represented on the Committee by:

Dr. Rufus Chaney, who also built a career on doing studies

promoting the use of sludge as a fertilizer.  His expertise

on the committee was bioavailability of metals. Dr. Robert

Dowdy was also listed as an expert on metal bioavailability.

Members on the Committee from Land Grant Colleges


Dr. Terry Logan of the Ohio State University (OSU), who

co-chaired the Peer Review Committee.  Logan's expertise on

the committee was bioavailability of metals.  He has been

involved with beneficial sludge use through research at the

University of Ohio and employment with commercial sludge

disposal firms. In September 1998, Logan became the President

of N-Viro International, a major sludge processor.

Dr. Al Page of the University of California at Riverside

(UCR), who was co-chair of the Peer Review Committee with Dr.

Logan, was listed as a metal bioavailability expert, as was

Dr. Andrew Chang, Page's colleague at UCR.  Dr. Page was also

the Chair of the National Science Academy's National Research

Council Committee (NRC) which reviewed the final regulation's

risk assessment methodology in its 1996 report, Use of

Reclaimed Water and Sludge in Food Crop Production.

It would outwardly appear that the only area of real

concern with sludge use was in the bioavailability of metals.

But where were the veterinarians, the micro-biologists, the

public health service and the medical doctors?  Where were

the experts who knew about disease organisms and how they are


There was a definite conflict of interest in the make up

of the Peer Review Committee. This is an example of what Dr.

Stan Tackett called one sided science.  According to Dr.

Tackett, the beneficial use scientists are well represented

on scientific committees.  He says, "It is no wonder then

that the scientists selected by the EPA to serve on sludge

advisory committees are the "beneficial use" researchers, and

the only research reports they deem acceptable for the

purpose of adopting new sludge spreading regulations are from

the "beneficial use" studies.

Some of the Peer Review members research has been funded

by the EPA for a very long time. Many were involved in the

1972 NC-118 project, "Utilization and Disposal of Municipal,

Industrial and Agricultural Processing Waste on Land" and the

W-124 project, "Soil as a Waste Treatment System--a five year

study involving the Land Grant Universities, USDA and EPA";

"Optimum Utilization of Sewage Sludge on Land", a 5 year

project involved 44 researchers from 15 Land Grant

Universities, 3 USDA laboratories, 1 EPA laboratory, 2

municipal wastewater treatment agencies and TVA. (This

project was extended for two years).  In 1984, the W-124

committee transformed itself into the W-170 committee for

another 5 year project, "Chemistry and Bioavailability of

Waste Constituents in Soils". This was a slightly smaller

group composed of 25 researchers from 13 Land Grant

Universities, 2 USDA laboratories, 1 municipal wastewater

treatment agency, 1 EPA laboratory and TVA.

Some members of the W-170 and predecessor Committees

organized and conducted with EPA, in 1973 the "Joint

Conference on Recycling of Municipal Sludges and Effluent on

Land". In 1975, 76, and 77, they published papers dealing

with standardization and methodology of using sludge and

wastewaters on land. In 1979, they reviewed the part 257

solid waste sludge disposal regulation. In 1983, the W-170

committee sponsored a workshop on "Utilization of Municipal

Wastewater and Sludge on Land" with EPA, USDA, the University

of California Kearney Foundation of Soil Science, the U.S.

Army Corps of Engineers, and the National Science Foundation.

Two years later in 1985, the W-170 committee organized and

conducted a workshop on "Land Application of Municipal Sewage

Sludge". The Workshop assessed the validity of the

assumptions made in the risk assessment process on fate of

sludge contaminates.  Findings of the workshop are contained

in a book entitled Land Application of Municipal Sewage

Sludge edited by (three members of the Peer Review Committee)

A.L. Page, T.J. Logan, and J.A. Ryan.  [32]

Some members of the W-124 committee were also on the

1987 EPA Science Advisory Board which reviewed the Technical

Documents supporting the revisions of Part 257 on the use and

disposal of sewage sludge.  Yet, EPA's Science Advisory Board

did not review the final Part 503 regulations for land use.

The only way the Committee could change the regulation

was to attack the methodology behind the regulation.

Although the Technical Support Documents (TSDs)  had been

reviewed and approved by the Science Advisory Board in 1987,

which was composed of some of the same members as the Peer

Review Committee, the Committee critized the regulations as


Such extensive misinterpretation and errors in the TSDs

that it is imperative that EPA review and revise them

completely. We also recommend that review and revision

of the rule and the TSDs be conducted in consultation

with the PRC (Peer Review Committee) and other

knowledgeable experts.

What was worse, in their view, was that beneficial use

would be effectively prohibited under the new rule, because:

The proposed rule is based on a series of worst case

scenarios, which are so stringent and inflexible that

local communities are precluded from beneficial use

options considered protective of the public health and

the environment under local conditions.  Beneficial use

is constrained because the proposed rule provides no

allowances for local conditions within and among

communities.  The PRC is concerned that, in spite of the

Agency's own findings that the aggregate risk for the

land-based sludge utilization options are lower than

that associated with other disposal options, the

proposed regulations encourage non-utilization


The PRC mentioned an interesting concept of the sludge

use risk assessment. Somehow, someway, by some magic, it was

less dangerous to dispose of toxic pollutant contaminated

sludge on your food crop production land and lawn, than it

was to disposed of the sludge in a highly regulated legally

permitted landfill.

One of the key areas of Part 503 that was criticized by

the Peer Review Committee was the risk assessment method

which allowed for worst case scenarios.  The worse case

scenarios are the same precautionary principals that European

countries and Canada use to protect their people from adverse

health effects of toxicity and the environment from further

degradatation from exposure to sludge.

The first step in their effort to gut the 1989 proposed

regulation was for the Peer Review Committee to attack the

lack of science behind the regulation. They wrote:

It is evident from a review of the document that many of

the conclusions reached by EPA are not driven by

science, but rather by policy decisions.  In view of the

inherent uncertainties in risk assessment and the

necessity for value judgements, the prominence of the

policy decisions is understandable. However, instead of

acknowledging these policy decisions and justifying them

on legal, political and social grounds, EPA has in many

cases, tried to make it appear that the basis for these

decisions was scientific.  This problem permeates the

proposed rule and technical support documents.---we wish

to emphasize that EPA has disguised policy decisions

with the risk assessment assumptions and database,

apparently to make it appear that the results were

derived scientifically. Had they wished to do the effort

correctly they should have, at the very least, clearly

presented the underlying assumptions, data and models.

Instead, these are scattered through numerous documents

in a manner that is very difficult to assess.

Although the Committee found fault with most of the risk

assessment, it accepted the EPA's less conservative 1 in

10,000, instead of 1 in a 1,000,000, risk assessment for

cancer because "the 1 in 10,000 risk level reduces the

regulatory impact of the rule allowing the Agency to regulate

the use and disposal of sewage sludge without needlessly

burdening the regulated community or negatively impacting

beneficial reuse." (58 FR p. 9281)

Of course, the purpose of the regulation was to get rid

of the sludge problem, not regulate it. Basically, many

sludge disposal sites could have already exceeded the

proposed regulated limits.  Under EPA's 1984 policy, states

such as Missouri had been disposing of toxic heavy metals and

deadly organic chemicals at extremely high levels compared to

what they would have been allowed to do under the 1989 EPA

proposed Part 503.  A comparison with the state of Missouri,

for example, with the EPA proposed limits shows the following



Another state adversely effected by the 1989 proposed

Part 503 regulation was New York. The ocean dumping ban had

created a major problem for New York City where there was

very little available landfill space. In a letter to EPA

Administrator Reilly, dated June 5, 1989, Commissioner Harvey

Schultz of New York City's Department of Environmental

Protection, explained the economics of New York City's

situation, if the Part 503 rule was adopted as it was

proposed. "...compliance with the pollutant standards would

be difficult, if not impossible, to achieve." " disposal

option covered by the proposal would be allowed or feasible

for eighty percent of the City's sludge." In closing, Mr.

Schultz urged Mr. Reilly; "Considering the economic and

environmental importance of these regulations, the large

volume of potentially beneficial sludge affected, and the

cost and paucity of landfill space, I urge you to devote the

necessary resources to revise 503 in accordance with the best

available technical information."

As is evident from the above examples, for some cities

it would have been impossible to meet the standards for

beneficial use in the Proposed Part 503; and many sludge

application sites could have already far exceeded the

regulated level.

One of the recommendations of the Peer Review Committee

which would help to increase the beneficial use of sludge

was to * Develop the concept of a "clean sludge" which

allows minimal regulation.  In other words, the Peer Review

Committee wanted to make it easy for the POTWs by not

requiring any additional paperwork.  Any paperwork would

draw attention to the product and the toxic contents.

Paperwork would also allow tracking of the product for

liability purposes.  Clean in this case only means there is

a little less of some of the toxic metals in the products.

Another recommendation of the Peer Review Committee was

* Not regulate all D&M (distributing and marketing) products

as a sludge. In effect, take the labeling requirements off,

so the public will not know they are buying this toxic and

extremely hazardous material.

Actually, the Peer Review Committee's recommendation to

market sludge as a "clean" Exceptional Quality (EQ) product

violates basic consumer protection rights, as stated by

President John F. Kennedy in the 60s: 1) The RIGHT TO




The consumers right to safety is ignored in the

distribution and marketing of the "clean" EQ toxic

contaminated sludge product for use on home lawns, gardens,

school grounds and parks, because the consumer is unaware of

the unstated dangers contained in the products. The danger is

from pathogens in the product, the additional regrowth of

pathogens, and the inhalation or ingestion of toxic organic

chemicals and toxic heavy metals when the product is used.

The marketers of EQ sludge know that if the purchasing

consumer was aware this product contained lead, mercury,

cadmium, dioxins, PCBs and disease causing organisms such as

E. coli and Salmonella, etc., they would never buy it. No

parent would ever expose their children to this toxic

fertilizer mix if they were aware of its contents.


The consumer's right to be informed is disregarded in

the promotion of the "clean" EQ toxic sludge product. Through

deceptive advertising they are led to believe there is no

danger from the EQ product used as a fertilizer. As there is

no labeling required on EQ products as with all other

consumer products, the consumer is kept in the dark

concerning the quality of the toxic pollutant contaminated

product. How could there be any instructions for its safe

use, when no one knows whats in the product?.


Because of a lack of information on the contents and use

of "clean" EQ sludge products, the consumer is unable to make

a wise comparison among toxic contaminated sludge, manure and

other commercial fertilizers not containing dangerous

mixtures of toxic substances. The right to choose a safe

product has been subverted by EPA.


The way the product has been packaged and promoted the

consumer's right to be heard will never happen. They will

never associate any acute adverse health effects, i.e., a

child playing in the yard where sludge was spread as a

fertilizer, who becomes ill or dies from exposure to worms,

E. coli or Salmonella that has regrown in the product, with

the product itself.  Subchronic and chronic effects from

exposure to toxic heavy metals and deadly organic chemicals,

such as cancer, immune and reproductive system damage, which

would take years to show up, would never be connected with

the product.

Furthermore, recent "food slander" laws enacted by 13

states would restrict the consumers right to sue for damages

from the use of a sludge product. According to a January 17,

1998 editorial in the Kansas City Star, Missouri Rep. Sam

Leake, a Laddonia farmer who chairs the Agriculture Committee

in the Missouri House, wants to protect Missouri farmers by

enacting a "law to impose tough penalties on people who

"disseminate a false and defamatory statement" about farmers

or their products. "Leake's bill would establish a penalty of

three times actual damages for anyone [without scientific

proof] who "knowingly" makes or disseminates a false and

disparaging statement about agricultural products or an ag


These laws are needed because of the EPA and Peer Review

Committee's work. Exactly who was the Peer Review Committee

working for when it made the recommendations to:

* Exempt from the rule banned compounds that have been

shown to pose insignificant risk (such as lindane,

chlordane, PCBs, hexachlorobutadiene).  This action

would be consistent with the screening approach used by

EPA (i.e., Environmental Profile and Hazard Indices) to

eliminate low priority pollutants from consideration.

* Exclude from the rule the chemicals which the Agency

assumes to be lost from the sludge during processing and

are not present in sludge in significant amounts.

The Peer Review Committee, composed primarily of

scientists who claimed to be experts on metals, recommended

EPA exempt the toxic organic chemicals to make it easier for

the POTWs to accept the beneficial land disposal methods.  If

the organic chemicals that were listed in the proposed Part

503 were regulated, it would require the POTWs to do costly

tests. The dioxin test alone would cost between $900 to $1200

a test.  Compare this with co-disposal (2,991 POTWs) of

sludge and solid waste under Parts 257/258, where no organic

chemical tests are required, but ground water monitoring is

required as well as a risk assessment of 1 in 100,000 for

over 200 chemicals.

The Peer Review Committee could not let the proposed

regulation stand as written.  It was too conservative and

would have effectively curtailed much of the land application

of sludge. Furthermore, EPA had too much money invested in

beneficial use research and development, too many people had

built their careers on beneficial use of sludge research and

too much sludge had already been used for crop production as

well as on home lawns and gardens. This could create a huge

liability problem if the practice was discontinued.

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Missouri Limits

lb.  per acre
  EPA's Proposed
lb. per acre
no limit
12.5  lb.
no limit
  no limit
no limit
no limit
no limit