Deadly Deceit
                                          CHAPTER 4

                 Who Regulates The Regulators?
"Corruption is often the price of progress."
Reverend Emanual Cleaver II, Mayor, KC, Mo.
(Starbeam--Kansas City Star, 1996)

Maybe, but killing or damaging the health of people seems to be a little more
than corruption.         

For almost 30 years, I have watched, as the

Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) Wastewater section of

the Office of Water Division altered its character from a law

enforcement agency and protector of the environment, as

envisioned by Congress, to become one of the most powerful

and corrupt entities in government. This small group of

people within the EPA has promoted a policy of land

application (disposal) of sewage sludge that has polluted our

air, food, soil, and water.

The Water Division of EPA was created and entrusted with

protecting our national water supply and cleaning up our

sewage (wastewater). One of the largest construction projects

in history was initiated by the EPA for the construction of

municipal primary and secondary sewage treatment plants to

prevent most of the harmful toxic chemicals and disease-

causing organisms from entering our water supply.

I was shocked to discover the Wastewater Division

betrayed that trust, by not only failing to protect our

national water supply, but by taking the most hazardous toxic

and disease contaminated sludge extracted from the sewage

wastewater and promoting its use as an unregulated and

uncontrolled fertilizer on home lawns, gardens, school

grounds and our food crop production land.  This small

section of about 20 people within the EPA have violated its

Trust, and the law, by creating a sludge use regulation based

solely on unrelated exclusions and exemptions in the

environmental laws, which do not apply to sludge, and a

statutory exemption for contaminated stormwater run-off from

agricultural land.

I first became involved in the 1970s, in Kansas City,

Missouri's waste disposal planning.  Because of my public

service activities as the first Vietnam veteran to serve as

an American Legion Post Commander in Kansas City, Missouri, I

was asked to serve on Kansas City's solid waste management

committee to evaluate solid waste disposal methods.

In modern public relations terminology I was a

gatekeeper, a public figure who had little knowledge about

solid waste at the time, but who would be believed when I

passed on the government's official line of so-called

scientific facts concerning solid waste disposal.  The

official line is much different from the truth. The truth is

that solid waste is a simple term for all the toxic chemical

and disease contaminated waste generated by homes, hospitals,

newspapers, industry and the sludge from air, water and waste

treatment plants, which can do irreparable damage to human

health and the environment if it is mismanaged.  Sewage

sludge at that time was considered to be a solid waste and

the environmental laws still classify sludge as a solid waste

which must be safely managed in a secure landfill.

Twenty years after I was first introduced to the dangers

of solid waste on the Kansas City Solid Waste Evaluation

Committee, the City began limited sludge disposal operations

next to our farm. In 1972, the City had taken part of our

farm for the disposal site. As it was funded by the EPA and

the State, I assumed all the necessary precautions would be

taken to assure the protection of any person coming in

contact with the sludge as well as protection of the

environment.  I also assumed that it would be well managed to

prevent the toxic chemicals and disease organisms from

entering the groundwater, surface water or causing other

harmful effects.  These assumptions were based on my naive

belief at that time that the wastewater section of the water

division of the EPA and Missouri's Department of Natural

Resource (DNR) had as its main concern enforcing the

environmental laws to protect human health and the


I became concerned when our tenant farmer, who also

farmed part of the City's sludge site, was not warned of any

danger associated with exposure to the toxic chemicals and

disease organisms in sludge which would contaminate the air,

crops, soil and water at the City's farm disposal site. I

also became alarmed when a cluster of cancer cases developed

around the disposal site.  I discovered that none of the four

farmers farming the sludge amended ground were ever warned

they could take the dust borne toxic chemicals and disease

organisms home on their clothes, which could affect the

health of their families.  Was it just a co-incidence that

one farmer developed cancer of the throat, the wives of two

of the farmers died of cancer, and the fourth farmer died of

questionable causes?  Two other women living on the perimeter

of the disposal site also died of questionable causes.

When the State did well water testing around the

disposal site, it said there were no problems with the ground

water these people had been drinking. However, city water

lines were installed for all of the residents near the sludge


My concern with the safety of our tenant led me to

question how sludge was managed in land application farming

vs in a disposal site.  I knew, based on my work on the waste

disposal committee, that there was potential for harm to

human health and the environment if the sludge was not

monitored and highly regulated, which included warning the

public (farmers) of the danger from contact with it. In my

investigation of the land application of sludge, I was

shocked to learn that the safeguards under the Solid Waste

Act that should have protected human health and the

environment were not in place.  Sludge, with its disease-

causing organisms, toxic organic chemicals, heavy metals and

even radioactive materials, was being applied to food crop

production land with little or no monitoring, oversight or


The propaganda contained in the EPA/WEF promotional PR

brochures assures the public that not only is sludge safe,

but it is highly monitored to prevent any adverse health

effects. Powell Tate noted the need for this strategy in its

Research Findings in 1993. According to Powell Tate:

Respondents do not believe that sludge or biosolids are

well regulated. Respondents from all groups, including

some public health and elected official representatives,

are distrustful and skeptical about government and

government's regulatory abilities. This is a critical

finding. As noted above, respondents do not believe in

government, even though in many cases government

officials are some of the most knowledgeable on the

issues. This mistrust appears to effect peoples' faith

in the state and local officials that regulate the

quality and safety of the product. (p. 2)


USE, WEF assures the public that:

"Biosolids are managed by a two-tier network of

regulations.  The federal Part 503 regulation, in

conjunction with the state regulations, ensure that

biosolids recycling is a safe and integral part of this

country's water quality and waste management programs."

Although WEF Director, Albert Grey, assured millions of

viewers on CNN's "Hazardous Harvest" that sludge was:  1) a

material (sludge) that is carefully processed, and 2) tightly

regulated, 3) carefully monitored, and 4) fully controlled

precisely for the purpose of protecting public health, the

opposite is true.

There is a wide disparity between what the WEF brochure

claims is happening in both the EPA and state biosolids

programs and what is actually happening. Once the Part 503

was released and the public relations campaign for disposal

of toxic sludge on farms, lawns and gardens was on track, EPA

began to cut back on its involvement.  To accomplish the

transfer of the liability to the states, EPA created its

"gang of 10" EPA and WEF stakeholders to rewrite the federal

rules to make it easier for the states to accept

responsibility for the sludge program.

The "gang of 10's" formation was reported in the August

1, 1995, issue of SLUDGE. The article noted that the

rewriting of the Code of Federal Regulations on state

delegation requirements would be given to "John Walker of

EPA's Municipal Technology Branch who would submit it by

September 1 for the agency review and comments." The major

change in the Code would be that the states' attorney general

could simply certify that state rules were in place to

regulate sludge, thereby, bypassing the current approval

process of states' legislative bodies.  There was a

qualifier, the states' rules could not be any more stringent

than EPA's rules.

According to Bob Bastian, writing in his 1995 paper, The

Biosolids (sludge) Treatment, Beneficial Use, and Disposal

Situations in the U.S., EPA is working with the states "to

encourage their adoption of biosolids regulatory programs

that can be approved to carry out delegated programs and

avoid the need for separate U.S. EPA permits, compliance

monitoring and enforcement activities."  He says:

Until a state applies for and is approved to carry out a

delegated program, all TWTDS in the state will be

dealing directly with their U.S. EPA Regional Office

regarding federal permits, compliance monitoring and

enforcement issues associated with implementation of the

Part 503 requirements. (p.7) According to Bastian, as of

December 23, 1997, only Utah had completed the

delegation process.

In this same paper, Bastian lists several problems with

land application that are reasons why states are not wanting

to accept delegation:

Areas such as the long-term fate of some land applied

pollutants in biosolids [sludge] relative to plant

uptake rates, surface runoff and groundwater movement,

and the potential impacts (both positive and negative)

on wildlife and unmanaged ecosystems are ripe for

further research due to the limited amount of field data

currently available. Future attempts to make the

pathogen control portion of the rule more "risk-based"

will also require additional research efforts. (p.10)

Alan Hais, EPA's Multimedia Risk Assessment Branch

Chief, is concerned with the enforcement issue. In SLUDGE,

August 1, 1995, he says, "The Water Environment Federation

(WEF) of Alexandria, Va. and EPA forged a partnership to

implement Part 503, but the association probably will not be

able to assist in the agency's enforcement efforts." The

partnership he was referring to was the EPA/WEF stakeholders

group.  Basically, it included WEF and AMSA members as well

as the Wastewater Division of the EPA.  In his 1995 paper,

Bob Bastian also refers to stakeholders as, neighbors,

farmers, food processors, and customers.

As a neighbor, we and our tenant farmer are

stakeholders.  We have a stake in protecting the soil and the

crops grown there, which in turn protects the value of the

property and the consumers of the crops. The EPA/WEF

stakeholder group on the other hand, is only interested in

sludge disposal at the cheapest cost, with the least amount

of control.

Environmental groups have also been approached to become

stakeholders. This stakeholders group, for the most part, is

a very biased group with a vested interest in promoting the

beneficial sewage sludge use and covering up any damages

caused by sewage sludge as evidenced from their debunking


In reading the correspondence between EPA and the WEF,

it is sometimes difficult to determine exactly who is in

charge.  In one letter, Robert Perciasepe, Assistant

Administrator of EPA's Office of Water, had expressed to

stakeholders of the WEF's executive committee the desire for

WEF assistance in getting States to accept responsibility for

Part 503. EPA had already set up an inter-agency loan of Dr.

Al Rubin to WEF, to assist WEF and States to understand

technical aspects of Part 503.  His role at WEF was to get

States to accept the technical requirements of Part 503.

In a March 13, 1995 letter to Perciasepe, WEF President

Michael R. Pollen acknowledged Perciasepe's request for

assistance in getting the states to accept responsibility for

sludge enforcement.  Pollen boasted that:

The WEF's highly successful partnership with EPA to

develop and implement a national campaign for gaining

public acceptance of biosolids recycling demonstrates

the viability of such a partnership effort.  The recent

positive modification of the ABC TV PRIMETIME LIVE show

because of our proactive cooperative efforts was most


The story that was modified concerned Mount San Diego,

which is a mountain of San Diego, California sludge dumped on

an Indian reservation. The sludge disposal contractor was

supposed to compost the sludge and sell or give it away as a

fertilizer. However, that did not happen and the pollutants

from the mountain of sludge have contaminated the reservation

and the groundwater.  Now no one wants to accept

responsibility for the clean-up because it is on an Indian


In spite of EPA initiating the partnership, in a May 15,

1995 letter, Perciasepe, thanked Pollen for suggesting the

EPA/WEF partnership. He wrote, "we need to explore

develop an innovative relationship... to streamline

authorization process." An EPA team, for the partnership WEF

had in mind, had been assembled, and John Walker had been

appointed the biosolids team leader.

Furthermore, Pollen acknowledged that it was EPA's

Walker and Dr. Albert Grey, Deputy Executive Director of WEF,

"who was instrumental in creating this and other proposals

for joint WEF/EPA cooperation."

In 1995, a special committee, the Biosolids Public

Acceptance Subcommittee was created and entrusted with a two-

fold gain public acceptance of sludge use and to

convince states to accept delegation, that is, to take

responsibility for administering the Part 503 rule.  This

committee was composed of various stakeholders, 1) John

Walker, of EPA's Office of Water, 2) state

representative, Lisa Rogers of Utah. Div. of Water

Quality, which was the first state to accept delegation

for Part 503), 3) municipalities' representatives, Steve

Frank of Metro WW Reclamation District of Denver (who is

now accepting radioactive hazardous waste leachate from

the Lowery superfund site, which will be included in the

sludge used on Denver's 50,000 acre farm, where wheat is

grown for human consumption), George Hall of Metro

Reclamation of Greater Chicago and Mike Moore of Orange

County Sanitation Dist.,

4) Sludge Disposal Companies' representatives, Jane Forste of

Bio Gro Systems, Inc, and Scott Wienands of Nutri-jet

Systems, Inc.,  (Nutri-jet was fired by Kansas City, Missouri

for applying excessive amounts of sludge at its sludge site),

and 5) associated groups who also profit from biosolids

(engineering)--Lynn Green of Black & Veatch, and

(agricultural studies)--Billie Harrison of The Ohio State

University.  According to a memo dated July 28, 1995, Pete

Machno of the King County Department of Metropolitan Services

(Seattle) is directing the Biosolids Committee.

In a 1995 letter, Walker explained the focus of the

biosolids acceptance committee:

EPA has a mandate to promoting the beneficial use of

biosolids. For this to occur States need to understand

the risk assessment/science basis of the Part 503 rule

so that their rules will not be overly stringent and so

that state authorities can knowledgeably recommend to

their public that alternatives which make beneficial use

of biosolids are safe and desirable. (John Walker's

confirmation letter to Tanya Moll, Manager, NBMA. June


Sam Hadeed, director of technical services and

legislation for the Association of Metropolitan Sewage

Agencies (AMSA) noted in the August 1, 1995 issue of SLUDGE,

"If the EPA structures the recordkeeping requirements so they

are not onerous or cumbersome, violations are not likely to

be widespread.  I think the states should pick up on that


If there are no rules or accurate records it is self-

evident that there will not be any violations. Most states

did not pick up on that message. However, many states like

Missouri, quit making any attempt to protect the health of

their citizens, arbitrarily turning over the responsibility

to EPA's Regional sludge coordinators, who are promoting

sludge use.  As most states have not assumed delegation, the

monitoring and enforcement requirement of Part 503 sludge

rule are still the responsibility of about 10 Regional Sludge

Coordinators at the EPA.

In a personal conversation with Ken Arnold of Missouri's

Department of Natural Resources (DNR), he told me that

Missouri does not have the people to enforce the sludge

rules.  According to Arnold, the Missouri Department of

Natural Resources cut 20 staff positions from the

department's Water Pollution Control effort in the last half

of 1997. This included the sludge coordinator position which

had been vacant since July 1, 1997.

I was astonished to find that, according to Arnold,

until 1997, EPA had funded the State Sludge Coordinator

positions to monitor the sludge application projects. Since

EPA cut the funding, the State of Missouri does not now have

anyone responsible for inspecting the sludge disposal sites

or enforcing the State rules concerning the sludge sites.

Why was EPA paying the State Sludge Coordinators' salary

and what was EPA paying them to do?  In an inspection report

to Kansas City, dated June 23, 1994, Ellen J. Dettman, DNR

Water Pollution Unit Chief, stated, "These inspections did

not address compliance with EPA sludge regulations under 40

CFR 503.  These regulations are self-implementing and

directly enforceable without being included in your state

operating permits." In a letter dated December 18, 1997,

Arnold said, "Issues regarding 503 rules are referred to John

Dunn at the EPA Region VII office.  When state issues overlap

with 503 rules, EPA normally takes the lead."

The fact is the federal government has never enforced

any State rules. The States are actually responsible for the

safe disposal of solid waste. Where sludge is concerned EPA

doesn't have the people or the desire to enforce any rules

that would limit sludge use.

John Dunn, EPA's Region VII sludge coordinator, is

responsible for monitoring and enforcement in four states.

An impossible job for one person, since Missouri alone has

3,000-4,000 sites and 1,000 facilities which are not

permitted, as well as the 1,000 which are permitted.

According to 1995 notes from a National Sludge Coordinators'

meeting, Dunn, stated, "I am part time on sludge for 1/3 of

my time for the States; Nebraska won't come in for delegation

so I have to cover all of those state facilities; I only have

one AARP to help me for the next two years." Now he has

Missouri too who has refused to accept delegation.

At the same sludge coordinators' meeting, Washington

State revealed that it also like Missouri had cut back on its

solid waste and biosolids (sludge) monitoring and enforcement

program.  It started with 117 full time employees in the

solid waste program and 6 in biosolids.  By 1995, it had

downsized to 50 full time employees for solid waste and 2.4

employees for the biosolids program.

On July 4, 1995, SLUDGE reported the concern of J.

Patrick Nicholson, chief executive officer of N-Viro

International Corp [a stakeholder] about the lack of

enforcement of the sludge rule by the states.  In a letter to

EPA Administrator Carol Browner, he wrote "Inadequate state

enforcement [of Part 503] exists in almost every state in the

union." He continued, "Yet, EPA is hanging its reputation on

a regulation that totally relies on state enforcement, and

EPA is planning a reduction in its federal program."

The Truth Emerges

On August 14, 1996, SLUDGE reported that EPA's proposed

amendments to Part 503 included reduced responsibilities and

monitoring at the sites. According to the article, monitoring

would be left up to the permitting authority.

Since Part 503 is self-permitting, the permitting

authority for sludge disposal is the treatment plant.  Sludge

disposal is not a part of the current NPDES (National

Pollution Discharge Elimination System) permit program.  For

the most part, the state issued NPDES permits concern the

operation of the treatment plant and the amount of pollutants

in effluent which are permitted to be discharged into surface

water. The effluent is the treated water generated by the

treatment process. There are isolated instances where ground

water monitoring may still be included in NPDES permits, even

though the state has no control over the sludge site.

Because there has been minimal to almost no enforcement

of the Part 503 sludge rules in EPA's 10 Regions, many

treatment plants have ignored the state NPDES permit

requirements and there have been numerous violations which

have the potential to cause serious adverse health effects

and environmental damage.

SLUDGE has reported several instances of "non-

compliance" and other questionable practices. The extent of

the treatment plant violations that are occurring all over

the United States was revealed in an April 24, 1996 issue of

SLUDGE.  According to SLUDGE, the GAO (General Accounting

Office) accused EPA of failing to appropriately classify

NPDES violations.  The GAO said that one out of six of the

7,053 major regulated facilities had significant violations

in 1994.

The October 6, 1997 issue of SLUDGE reported, Warner

Lambert, in Puerto Rico, was fined $3 million for violating

its waste water discharge permit 347 times between 1992 and

1995 by releasing excessive amounts of pollutants.  The

Plant's supervisor had falsified reports on the 34 different

pollutants that were required to be analyzed. He could be

sentenced to 27 months in prison.

The February 27, 1997 issue of SLUDGE reported pathogen

violations in Washington DC. According to the article, A

National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) witness, Senior

Attorney Erik Olson, testified before a House Panel February

23, about  "acute" bacteria violations and other recent

incidents" he claims resulted from improperly treated sewage

contaminating the water supply.  The pathogens,

Cryptosporidium and Giardia have been found in untreated

water.  "You can ask the district if they test their sludge

for Crypto, but I can tell you what their answer's going to

be," he said.

The January 26, 1998 issue of SLUDGE reported that

Kansas City, Missouri violated NPDES permit requirements at

its 1,200 acre sludge application site.  There was a 100,000

gallon sludge spill at the site as well as ground water

contamination from high levels of nitrogen, aluminum,

arsenic, and fecal coliform.  The Birmingham Treatment Plant

in Kansas City has repeatedly violated its state issued NPDES

permit.  According to Missouri records, Kansas City had

reported 5 recent NPDES violations, some of them more than

once, and no one in the state DNR even acknowledged it.

The ground water monitoring system was installed when

the sludge site was created under the solid waste rules in

Part 257.  The State has retained the monitoring wells under

the NPDES program for the plant because, according to the

Environmental Assessment Reports, the soil was never suitable

for the construction of sludge lagoons or landfills.

As a Trustee for the Alice Minter Trust, I discovered

that no inspections had been done for the Kansas City sludge

application site.  I also discovered the NPDES threshold

concentrations have been exceeded at the Kansas City sludge

disposal site a number of times.  In December of 1997, it was

revealed by state records, there was ground water

contamination both on and off Kansas City's sludge

application site.

An examination of the state records revealed that by the

second quarter of 1997, Kansas City was requesting a permit

modification because it could not meet the permit limits for

nitrogen and aluminum in the ground water monitoring test

wells. All fourteen test wells were above the limits for

nitrogen and many of the test wells were above the permit

limits for aluminum. One well was above the NPDES limit for


One of the reasons for the permit modification,

according to Kansas City, was that the soil was naturally

high in aluminum.  Actually the reason for the high aluminum

content in the soil, according to a 1987 EPA sludge analysis,

was that the Kansas City sludge was being disposed of with

7,100 mg/kg (ppm) of aluminum in it.  Aluminum is not

regulated under Part 503.

In the past aluminum has been thought to be relatively

safe in the environment even though aluminum dust is known to

produce a lung disease in workers.  Aluminum is now known to

cause a type of dementia in people undergoing kidney dialysis

when regular tap water is used in the dialysis machine.

According to authors of Toxics A to Z, in recent years,

two major discoveries have caused a reevaluation of

aluminum's safety.  High concentrations of aluminum have been

found in patients suffering from Alzheimer's disease and

other brain disorders.  It was also found that, "...acid rain

washes aluminum out of the soil and into freshwater, killing

fish and perhaps raising the concentration in drinking water

to levels that in combination with aluminum from other

sources, could become a health hazard." The author noted

that, "aluminum does not dissolve readily in water that is

neutral in acidity, but as the water gets either increasingly

acidic or alkaline, it dissolves more readily and therefore

becomes more mobile in the environment." (p. 210)

EPA's 1987 sludge analysis also revealed another major

concern. Kansas City has been disposing of the chemical

Thallium at up to 170.0 mg/kg. In the Cornell report, The

Case for Caution, it was reported that some European

countries, restrict Thallium to 1.0 mg/kg in the soil.

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Thallium is a

"rare, poisonous, bluish-grey, soft, metallic chemical

element, used in making photoelectric cells, rat poison,

etc." It is classified under the Clean Water Act as a

hazardous substance. Yet, we can find no EPA funded studies

which mention Thallium in sludge. In fact, according to John

Dunn, there is no reliable method to test for Thallium in

sewage sludge.

According to the 1995 annual report for the site, some

permit violations were to be expected. Some sludge was

disposed of with arsenic levels of 105.263 mg/kg which is

considerable higher than the 75 mg/kg ceiling levels allowed

in the beneficial use section of Part 503.  The same was true

for selenium which was disposed of at 157.895 mg/kg and

105.263 mg/kg versus a ceiling level of 100 mg/kg.

Furthermore, the records show some acreage received 20.056

pounds of arsenic and 34.711 pounds of selenium per acre.

The disposal level of 105.263 mg/kg for arsenic was

extremely high when compared to the 30 mg/kg allowed within

30 meters (approximately 75 feet) of a sludge only surface

disposal site boundary under Part 503 or even the 62 mg/kg

allowed within 150 meters (approximately 375-450 feet) of the

disposal site boundary.  Yet, after 10 years of beneficial

sludge disposal at this site, Kansas City writes, "This limit

for arsenic [in ground water] appears to be very low and

would be difficult or impossible to meet."

Under the Part 503 monitoring requirements, Kansas City

is supposed to track all of the nine metals disposed of at

the sludge disposal site.  Yet, according to the Missouri DNR

Form SD, for Cumulative Metals Loadings For Land Application

of Biosolids, sludges that do not exceed the low metals

concentration limits for EQ or PC aren't recorded.  In

effect, the EPA's crap game is getting more serious for the

consumer and general public.

One example of this discrepancy is the land loading

records for Site No. LFF1P1, which indicated that no arsenic,

selenium, mercury or molybdenum had been applied to the site

prior to 1995---in spite of the 177 pounds of lead which had

been applied to the site.  The fact is the sludge was just

too contaminated to keep records on. In 1995, disposal rates

were, Arsenic--20.056 lbs. per acre, selenium--34.711 lbs.

per acre, and lead was 51 lbs. per acre.   By 1996, the

record for this site showed that all but a few pounds of the

three toxic metals had disappeared. The record indicated the

toxic heavy metals had never been applied to that site.

Kansas City claimed it could not be responsible for the

arsenic ground water contamination. However, the records show

that Kansas City's Blue River wastewater treatment plant

sludge was piped to the Birmingham site for disposal in 1994,

with arsenic levels as high as 589 mg/kg vs the 75 mg/kg

allowed for beneficial use.  Where did this sludge go?

Arsenic is of particular concern, Part 117.3 and other

federal regulations show a reportable quantity of one (1)

pound of arsenic, (Part 117.1) that may be harmful to public

health and the environment, and the discharge of which is a

violation of section 311(b)(3) and requires notice as set

forth in Part 117.21 and other federal regulations.  Yet, it

was being dumped at 20 pounds per acre on food crop

production land.

Two years later, in December 1997, there were no records

in the State files to indicate Kansas City had even been

questioned about the Part 503 violations by either the State

or EPA.  In September 1997, it was reported that the

monitoring well, which exceeded NPDES limits for arsenic, had

done so a number of times in the past. In spite of the high

levels of arsenic disposed of on the site, Kansas City wrote,

"It is our feeling that the Birmingham land application

program did not cause this violation."

The most interesting part of the Kansas City's 1995

sludge report was a comment by Kansas City explaining, "We

will be working with our laboratory in the future to obtain

lower detection limits for arsenic and selenium." Apparently

Kansas City's laboratory did comply with the wastewater

divisions request and it obtained much lower detection limits

in 1996.  For the 12 months of 1996, there was a dramatic

drop from the 105.263 mg/kg arsenic levels in 1995.

According to the reports, during 1996, the arsenic levels

only ranged from 1.23 mg/kg to a maximum of 5.261 mg/kg with

an average of 3.02 mg/kg.  However, molybdenum levels in the

sludge ranged from a low of 51.02 mg/kg to a high of 263.16

mg/kg with an average of 185.64 mg/kg. It would appear that

someone forgot to tell Kansas City's laboratory that the

regulated ceiling level of molybdenum for disposal was only

75 mg/kg.

One of EPA's many claims for the safety of sludge used

as a fertilizer is that the regulated metals do not move

through the soil.  The Kansas City test well reports for 1996

and 1997 appear to bear this theory out, until we look at

other metals which EPA does not regulate. As noted, arsenic

and aluminum were above the permitted level in a number of

the test wells. But other chemicals of concern, iron,

magnesium, Manganese, silver and sodium appear to move

through the soil very quickly. The levels varied from very

low to very high levels in the 14 wells.  Total nitrogen

(TKN) was above the permit limits in all 14 monitoring wells.

In the June 1997 report one well had a nitrogen level of

63.76 mg/l vs the regulated level of 10 mg/l.

In 1997, when the farm manager of the Alice Minter Trust

sent four soil samples (from the four quarters of the 80

acres adjacent to the sludge site) to the University of

Missouri's Extension Service Soil Testing Laboratory in

Portageville, for a test report on the nutrients and metals

which effect crop growth, he asked for, and expected to

receive, a full report on all the nutrients, especially

nitrogen. Without the full test, he would have no idea of the

required fertilizer composition needed. However, he did not

receive a report on nitrogen, which was contaminating the

ground water monitoring wells on the property, or sulfur,

zinc, manganese, iron, or copper.  He only received a partial

report on phosphorus, potassium, calcium and manganese.

According to the University's soil test reports on

calcium, the calcium varied by 3000 lb per acre between the

four samples.  The lowest exposure to runoff from the sludge

site was recorded as 3,428 lbs. per acre, while the section

with highest exposure to run-off from the sludge site was

recorded at 6,703 lbs. per acre.  The high levels of calcium

in surface water run-off could be expected since, according

to EPA documents, Kansas City has been disposing of sludge

with calcium levels at 28,000 mg/kg since 1988.  When I

talked to the University's laboratory manager several days

later, he tried to convince me the additional tests were not

needed.  However, he assured me that if we wanted the

additional testing, the soil samples were still available and

the tests would be done that day.  When I requested the

additional tests, the samples could not be found. It would

appear that the University of Missouri's Laboratory

recognized a potential sludge problem with some of the

nutrients and heavy metals and did not want to get involved.

Perhaps the most disturbing part of the Kansas City 1997
second quarter report was that permit numbers for fecal

coliform were exceeded in 4 of the 14 test wells.  According

to a conversation with John Bozarth, Kansas City's sludge

coordinator, one of the test wells, which exceeded the fecal

coliform numbers was only a few feet away from the Alice

Minter Trust property line.  Kansas City claimed the

violations were caused by improper sampling, which may have

contaminated the original samples.

By the third quarter of 1997, there was no question

about the ground water contamination; the groundwater

contamination had spread and permit limits for fecal coliform

were exceeded in six of the fourteen test wells.  Kansas City

did not even bother to re-sample the test wells for this


As adjoining landowners, we first became concerned with

possible ground water contamination as well as storm water

runoff, when we saw runoff from the sludge site ponding in

our field in 1989.  According to a letter dated January 22,

1996, from Daniel R. Schuette, Chief of Permits Section for

the DNR, to Terry McQuerry, Manager of Kansas City,

Missouri's Wastewater Treatment, our concern was justified.

In the letter, which was in answer to McQuerry's request that

storm water sampling requirements in the NPDES permit for

its sludge application site be eliminated, Schuette wrote "We

believe that there will still be discharge of storm water

from the land application site." Missouri's Water Quality

brochure (WQ 427) explains the need for a storm water

management plan, "Intense storm water runoff occurs several

times each year at random intervals in Missouri."

Although Mcquerry answered Schuette by stating that,

"The stormwater from the treatment plant site does not flow

to any water courses, but discharges onto the land

application site, owned and operated by the City," he was

very much aware of the storm water runoff onto the adjacent

Minter property. The Alice Minter Trust has been complaining

about the run-off since 1989.

In reality, part of the storm water discharges onto the

adjacent Alice Minter Trust property, and part of the storm

water is discharged into the Missouri River.  However, when

McQuerry sent in the storm water management plan, it only

covered the treatment plant itself, not the sludge

application site as required.  Apparently Schuette's

requirements that Kansas City follow the 1989 state rules

were too stringent, as he is no longer Chief of Permits


While there are existing laws against the sewer

overflows (stormwater) through the treatment plants, they are

still permitted by Missouri.  According to an article in the

SLUDGE Newsletter, Missouri acknowledges, "They're illegal,

but we turn our heads unless there's a problem," said Ed

Knight, Director of the Missouri Department of Natural

Resources' Clean Water Commission.  Politically, our hands

are tied unless there's a national policy." [3]

It would appear that if the storm water overflows are

illegal, there is a national policy covering them. However,

it is difficult to tell exactly who is responsible for

enforcing the rules. According to Ken Arnold of the DNR,

stormwater runoff from the Kansas City sludge site is a

federal, not a state problem.  In a letter dated December 18,

1997, he states:

The Kansas City Birmingham permit does not require

monitoring or limitations of the storm water runoff from

the agricultural crop land fields where biosolids

(sludge) are being spread at beneficial use rates. Storm

water runoff from these agricultural crop fields is

considered a non-point source under State rules as is

the storm water runoff from agricultural fields where

commercial fertilizers and pesticides are applied. The

storm water runoff onto the Alice Minter Trust property

is from an agricultural crop land field where biosolids

are subsurface injected into the soil at beneficial use

rates. The potential impact of this storm water runoff

onto the adjacent farm land would need to be addressed

under the federal rules at 40 CFR 503.

The problem is that 40 CFR 503 does not address storm

water run-off from a sludge site even though storm water

runoff from agricultural land has long been recognized as a

major source of water pollution by the EPA.  While Part 503

does include a 20 foot buffer zone requirement, both EPA and

the State claim this is not to prevent pollutants from

leaving the site. What is the buffer zone for then?

The EPA Journal of April, 1984 reported that "National

studies suggest that agricultural nonpoint source pollution

adversely affects portions of over two-thirds of the nation's

river basins." According to the article:

About 63 percent of non-federal land in the United

States is used for agricultural purposes, including crop

and livestock production. It is not surprising,

therefore, that agricultural activities constitute the

most pervasive cause of water quality problems from

nonpoint sources.  Indeed, it is considered the most

serious cause in most EPA regions." (p. 28)

When we complained to the state DNR about our most

recent concern of possible ground and surface water

contamination of our land, James Macy, the new Regional

Director of the DNR, convened a meeting of the City, State

and EPA officials involved. The meeting was held with us on

May 6, 1998. While Macy has no control over sludge disposal,

it was Macy's stated intent that he wanted the contamination

issue resolved.

During the meeting, Kansas City's Sludge Manager, John

Bozarth and EPAïs sludge coordinator, John Dunn, agreed to

conduct tests to determine if the toxic heavy metals

regulated under Part 503 were contaminating the 80 acres.

Both also agreed to test for possible pathogen contamination.

It was agreed that our 50 acre site could be used as a

control site, since neither sludge or manure had ever been

applied to it, nor was it near any site where sludge had been

applied.  A comparison of test results of the 80 acres

adjacent to the sludge site with the 50 acres should show

whether there was surface stormwater contamination from the

sludge site.

In addition, because of high fecal coliform levels in

ground water only a few feet from the property line, a ground

water monitoring test well was to be drilled on the 80 acres.

Apparently, it was Macy's intent to include the monitoring

well in the NPDES permit. All testing was to be completed by

September 15, 1998.

However, when Macy followed up with the City and the EPA

on the date and time for obtaining the samples for testing,

some two months after the agreement, neither the City nor the

EPA replied to his letter.  It appears that they already knew

there was contamination on the 80 acres. Why else would the

City have fired its Sludge Manager, John Bozarth, who agreed

to the test?  Why else would the EPA have refused to conduct

the tests that it had so readily agreed to do at the May 6th


Due to the strange turn of events, the Alice Minter

Trust trustees decided it might be worthwhile to do some

pathogen testing on the Trust property.  Four different soil

test samples were taken on Trust property that had been

subject to surface water run-off.  All four samples were

tested for fecal coliform bacteria.  The test results

revealed coliform bacteria levels of 3000, 9000 and one with

650,000 per 100ML.  The samples with the lowest fecal

coliform bacteria levels had also been tested for Salmonella

and E. coli. To our astonishment, the results of those two

tests revealed levels of both Salmonella and E. coli at

800,000 units per 100ML.

Those numbers along with the ground water violation

reports were enough to get Investigative Reporter Denny Brand

of KSHB 41 TV station, an NBC Affiliate, interested in the

story of ground water and food contamination.  When Brand

tried to talk to Kansas City's Water Services Department, all

officials refused to talk to him.  However, the State DNR

Regional Director, James Macy, assured Brand the State would

be testing the Trust property for surface run-off of

pollutant contamination from toxic heavy metals.

Our own personal experience with the various government

entities (City, State, and EPA), who are supposed to be

monitoring and overseeing the safe disposal of sludge,

confirmed what Persiacepe, Assistant Administrator for the

EPA's Office of Water, wrote in two confidential January 1998

draft statements (original & final) received from Washington

that there hasn't been any monitoring or compliance

enforcement.  In these two drafts, Persiacepe revealed that

EPA has never adequately monitored or enforced the Part 503

regulation.  Perciasepe admits in a statement to Steven

Harman, Assistant Administrator for Enforcement and

Compliance Assurance, that "Our limited biosolids staffing

has crippled our ability to oversee the quality of biosolids

being land applied and to assure that the regulations

governing land application are properly enforced."

In the draft statement, Perciasepe requested support

from Harman in "implementing a strategy for biosolids

compliance and enforcement; and providing training for

persons involved with biosolids inspections; enforcement;

compliance assistance; and technical assistance."

These statements acknowledged what many people in and

out of government already knew, the EPA has not overseen the

safety of sludge disposal. Since States with the exception of

Utah have not accepted delegation of Part 503, the oversight

and compliance for land application of sewage sludge is an

EPA problem.

In Perciasepe's Statement to Harman, he requested

financial assistance in excess of $3,780,000 above his budget

for two years. The two year request for funding included:

1) Research and Technical Support ($1.6 Million),

2) Stakeholders Partnership with AMSA and WEF ($500

thousand), 3) Biosolids Quality Survey ($325 thousand),

4) Biosolids Data Management System ($350 thousand), 5) Code

of Good Practice and Third Party Verification ($200

thousand), 6) Booklet Explaining Quality Control ($80

thousand), 7) Expand Training ($130 thousand), 8) Enhance

Oversight and Compliance ($150 thousand) and 9) Technical

Support for Pathogens & Vector Attraction Equivalency

Committee ($50 thousand) and the Incidence Response Team

($120 thousand).

According to the budget outlay request there still would

not be adequate compliance and oversight. Compliance and

oversight was only going to cost $100 thousand the first year

and $50 thousand the second year.  The Incidence and Response

Team was cheap at $60 thousand a year.  This budget request

was just another way to fund the public relations program.

A closer examination of Perciasepe's draft statements

reveals the real reason for the additional outlay of money is

to counteract the growing opposition of the public to

biosolids use. Perciasepe wrote:

Because the public perceives that risks are high, we

need to reinvest in biosolids to address the public's

concerns. Specifically, the public believes that

biosolids qualities are poor, that the science behind

the rule is suspect, that emerging potential problems

with the use of biosolids are equivalent to a new "Love

canal," and finally that EPA does not know what is going


He added further that, "the public's poor perception of

environmentally sound land use practices is severely

impacting EPA's ability to successfully implement the

beneficial use policy. The poor public perception may force

municipalities to spend unnecessary expenses to manage


Perciasepe uses the same tired old line used by most

regulatory agencies who fail to fulfill their assigned

functions-- we don't have enough money, or enough people, or

enough power to do the job. So, they receive more taxpayer

dollars to hire more people and get more power to cover up

their misdeeds.  It is evident from Perciasepe's Statement,

the real purpose of the request for over 2 million dollars

annually was to cover up the brewing scandal CNN exposed.  He

has a right to be concerned with public perception. As was

pointed out by Powell Tate, this is a major problem for the

EPA/WEF partnership.

However, the real problem is not public perception, it

is the damage done to the public's health and the


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