Deadly Deceit
                                          CHAPTER 8

        Something Smells and It Ain't Manure

In their promotion of biosolids EPA/WEF plans included

expanding their market for sludge by getting USDA to accept

it as a fertilizer in the proposed Organic Standard.  Their

target is the organic farmers who have strongly resisted the

use of sludge on food crops organically grown. Authors of

Toxic Sludge Is Good for You, Stauber and Ramption (1995),

noted what a coup it would be for EPA to have sludge declared

fit for organic farming.  They wrote:

"Currently, "certified organic" farmers are prohibited

from using sludge on their crop, but the sludge industry

is pushing for acceptance by organic farming

organizations, and this will be a battle-ground for

industry PR in the future.  The amount of farm acreage

dedicated to organic farming is currently very small.

However, said Brian Baker of California Certified

Organic Farmers, "imagine what great PR it would be for

the sewage sludge promoters to say that sludge is so

clean it can be certified organic---what a way to

`greenwash' sewage sludge." [7]

Stauber and Rampton were right. EPA/WEF needed USDA's

endorsement if they were going to succeed in their plan to

force organic farmers to use sewage sludge on their food

crops. This was evident in a letter dated November 10, 1997,

to USDA's Deputy Secretary, Richard Rominger.  EPA's

Assistant Administrator, Robert Perciasepe's letter to

Rominger emphasized the past support of USDA in developing

Part 503 and the need for USDA to continue supporting the

regulation with technical information.  He wrote, "The

authoritative support by your Department is most helpful to

our program. It is [was] vital to the U.S. Environmental

Protection Agency's (EPA's) ability to promulgate

scientifically valid regulations for biosolids (sludge) use

and to provide technically correct information."

Perciasepe added further:

Assuming that the organic standards rule is corrected so

that practices which can cause disease are omitted, I

request that high quality biosolids [sludge] be included

as a recognized suitable material for organic food

production. EPA has a policy that promotes the recycling

of biosolids [sludge] to land and your Department, EPA,

and the Food and Drug Administration issued a policy

statement as far back as 1981 that endorsed the use of

biosolids [sludge] for production of fruits and

vegetables (copies enclosed).

If EPA/WEF are to accomplish their purpose to spread

sludge on organic crops, they have to eliminate the

competition. The primary competition is manure.

In Perciasepe's letter to Rominger, he requested his

assistance in prohibiting or severely limiting the use of

manure in organic farming. He wrote:

I am writing this letter to request your assistance in

another important matter. I have significant concerns

about a rule that I understand is about to be

promulgated in final form by your department. This rule

will provide standards to the farming community that

produce organically grown foods. It is my understanding

that this National Organic Standards Rule would permit

the application of raw unprocessed animal manures to

soils to support "organic production" of vegetables and

fruits. It would seem unwise to permit such a practice

in light of the recent revelations of human diseases

that apparently have resulted from the use of such

improperly treated and/or used manures. A demonstrated

occurrence of human disease from such organically grown

foods after promulgation of the National Organic

Standards Rule could have major negative consequences

for the organic food industry.

Perciasepe essentially outlined how the biased

stakeholders group was setting manure up as a scapegoat for

all the problems created by unregulated, unmonitored, and

unenforced use of sewage sludge. In the letter to Rominger,

he wrote:

Dr. John Walker, of my staff, just attended an

excellent U.S. Department of Agriculture-Agriculture

Research Service-Beltsville Agricultural Research Center

(USDA-ARS- BARC)-stakeholders meeting in Beltsville,

Maryland that outlined specific instances of human

health problems that were associated with the use of

animal manures for the production of foods and efforts

that a team of scientist there are proposing to develop

basic information which should help overcome these

problems. At that meeting Dr. Walker suggested that the

biosolids treatment, site access, and crop harvesting

restrictions which have been successful in protecting

public health from diseases when biosolids are recycled

might also be helpful with the management of pathogens

when recycling animal manures. ARS scientists at that

meeting indicated that they share his views.

Panic at EPA

In spite of Dr. Walker's claims at the meeting that

biosolids treatment, site access, and crop harvesting

restrictions have protected public health from adverse

effects from sludge, Freedom of Information requests reveal

the opposite, and show why manure had to be blamed.

At a Citizens Forum on Environmental and Health Concerns

from Landspreading of Sewage and Paper Mill sludges held in

November of 1997 in Concord, New Hampshire, Helane Shields

shared with the crowd her recent experience with the EPA on

the subject of the victims of sludge. When Helane filed a

Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requesting data on victims

of sludge, she received a call from Dr. Alan Rubin. Excerpts

from Helane's conversation with Dr. Rubin reveals that EPA's

claim that there's never been a documented case of any harm

to a person, or animal or any contamination of water or land

from sludge is refuted by EPA itself.  According to Helane:

On October 30, I got a call from Dr. Alan Rubin, who

headed up the group who wrote the EPA 503 sludge rules.

Some of you may recall the sludge industry and the DES

brought in Dr. Rubin earlier this year to tell us dumb

country bumpkins what great stuff sewage sludge is, and

why we should be so happy to be importing it, for

dumping all over our countryside.

Dr. Rubin told me it was going to cost me $42,000 for

the EPA to process my FOIA request, and that this was

probably going to make it too expensive for me to pursue

the matter. He wishes. He said they would have to search

thousands of files, and that needed staff time, and then

there would be a charge of 15 cents a page for about

10,000 pages, for a cost of $1500 just to copy. Dr.

Rubin said he is aware of thousands of allegations of

problems. Those are his words not mine.

He said it would be inappropriate government spending

for the EPA to provide me with this information without

getting reimbursed for their time. I asked him if it was

an appropriate use of government funds to give the WEF--

the Water Environment Federation, which is the lobbying

and PR arm of the sludge industry--hundreds of thousands

[$7.5 million] of our tax dollars to debunk and

discredit sludge victims and sludge opponents. Dr. Rubin

got very huffy, and naturally declined to answer that

question, and I haven't heard from him since.

On November 5, I got another call from the EPA, this

time from a woman who said she was calling for Dr.

Rubin. She wanted to know if I had filed my Freedom of

Information request on victims with all ten regional EPA

officers. I said I had. She said, "That's what's causing

the problems," and that Dr. Rubin was on edge because

each region has massive records, and the EPA wants to

handle this request through headquarters. I told her I

had already spoken with some of the regional offices and

that they were being most cooperative. She said to me,

"This is not what they're telling us. They are calling

us panicking. They are saying they have massive amounts

of records. Someone is not getting their story

coordinated. Region 6--which is Texas--"has no idea what

to do about this request."

Helane closed her presentation with the following

comment which put the whole sludge victim problem in


If no one has ever been harmed by the land spreading of

sewage sludge, what are these thousands of documents and

massive amounts of records all about? Why is Dr. Rubin

on edge? Why are they panicking? The answer is obvious.

The truth about what is really happening to America from

the land spreading of sewage sludge lies in those

records, which the EPA is trying so very hard to


The High Road

By January 1998, in the draft Statement Summary

requesting additional funding, Perciasepe wrote Harman about

how Al Rubin and John Walker Plan to take the high road on

the USDA National Organics Rule:

* With the Statement that the rule is a marketing rule

 and is not risk based;

* That the rule should be science based--otherwise using

 raw manures and composts without regulation or

 guidance can and is causing diseases;

* That the criteria used for chosing what is acceptable

 for use to produce organic grown food should be

 science based;

* That the rule should be subject to Peer Review

* And that biosolids are safe for use and are highly


If this proposed National Organic Standard is comparable

to Part 503 we could expect the science to be biased and only

studies favoring the EPA position acceptable; the peer review

committee will be stacked with EPA "approved" scientists and

risk assessment will be flawed, and then removed from the

standard like the cancer assessment was in Part 503; once its

passed, it would be poorly regulated, inefficiently

monitored, and with minimal to no oversight.

The EPA failed in its effort to get sludge included in

the Organic Standard, for now. The public outcry was

overwhelming. Over 100 thousand people responded during the

extended comment period. However, the Organic Standard will

be up for review in three years.

By that time the new manure standards should be in

place. Of course we know that in comparison to how the sludge

standard was promulgated, the manure standard will have very

conservative, very stringent requirements that must be met

before manure can be land applied.

One has only to read the proposed Congressional law

on manure to see that our assertion is correct.  The proposed

manure law is the result of an extensive lobbying effort by

the EPA/WEF to take the heat off toxic sludge used on

farmland, which has caused, according to FIOA information,

many, many victims for which they are wanting to put the

blame on manure. They have a problem though, tying all

adverse health and environmental effects to manure, because

manure should not contain toxic heavy metals and deadly

organic chemicals.  Of course, if the animals grazed on

sludge amended soil, the manure may contain toxic heavy

metals and organic chemicals.

We discovered the intense lobbying effort of EPA/WEF on

members of Congress, when the following letter was passed on

to us.


This cryptic message to a vocal California farmer

opposed to sludge/biosolids use on farmland, was attached to

a Water Environment Federation (WEF) letter, dated February

28, 1996, with the heading, "DEAR MEMBER OF CONGRESS:" The

signature on the message belonged to the WEF's temporary

Senior Scientist, Alan Rubin, who was on loan to WEF by the


Rubin's implied threat to the California farmer was

contained in the WEF letter sent to each member of Congress.

WEF was lobbying Congress to place the blame for water

pollution on farmers and their operations, because, "Water

Quality 2000 found that "polluted runoff from agricultural a major cause of impairment of our nation's

waters." WEF urged that, "Congress must make a clear

statement that agriculturally derived water pollution

problems is a national priority."

The letter continued, "Current Farm Bill provisions have

produced some progress in water quality. But future

improvements will require a new way of thinking about these

problems.  Agricultural conservation and environmental

protection programs should be re-oriented to make pollution

prevention the primary focus."

The WEF letter assured Congress that, "Preventing

pollution is easier and cheaper than implementing new

pollution control requirements." They state:

Congress should encourage prevention-oriented actions at

the watershed level in which farmers, ranchers, local

residents, and other stakeholders are all partners in

the search for solutions. Federal and state government

should serve as a catalyst for progress by bringing all

parties together and providing technical and financial

assistance. Any Farm Bill approved by Congress should

build upon existing mechanisms to protect and enhance

water quality in agricultural areas.

This lobbying campaign, with taxpayer dollars, for more

taxpayer dollars, smells to high heaven, worse than sludge

itself.  First, because taxpayer money is used for the

lobbying campaign to blame the farmers, and second, because

EPA and municipalities are responsible for dumping

approximately 5 million metric tons of disease causing

organisms, toxic heavy metals and deadly organic chemical

contaminated sludge on our agricultural food production land

where storm water can and does take it right off the sludge

site into the water supply.

Under the current EPA policy, sludge is generally

disposed of as a liquid on farmland with only a few pounds of

solid waste in each ton of water.  If the agronomic rate for

sludge use is 5 tons to the acre, there may be 500 tons of

the liquid toxic soup dumped on each acre within 10 meters

(approximately 30') of any waterway in the United States on a

slope. Basically, it does not make any difference whether the

slope is 1 degree or 15 degrees. It does not take a scientist

to understand that sludge site runoff runs downhill to the

rivers and eventually the pollutants in sludge are carried

into the ocean where sludge dumping was banned, because it

was destroying the ocean environment.

The EPA/WEF lobbying campaign on manure paid off. A Bill

(HR-3232) was introduced into the 105th Congress, 2/17/1998

by Congressman Miller, etc., of California. The purpose of

the Bill is, "To amend the Federal Pollution control Act to

control water pollution from concentrated animal feeding

operations, and for other purposes."

We are not sure what the `for other purposes' are, but

it is a conservative Bill. If the `for other purposes'

included "sewage sludge", at least 80 percent of the water

pollution in this country would be effectively stopped. Since

there is no current federal law to justify the beneficial

sludge use section of Part 503, this would be a perfect time

to back up the Part 503 regulation with a law. All that would

be needed is to add the word "sludge" in conjunction with

`concentrated animal feeding operations'.

It is clear, the writers behind this Bill (WEF/EPA),

were aware of the dangers from water pollution, even if they

lied about the cause.  According to the Bill, the amendment

was needed because Congress found: "(2) An outbreak of

cryptosporidium in Wisconsin, which killed more than 100

people, and an outbreak of pfiesteria piscida in the coastal

waters of North Carolina and Maryland, which killed millions

of fish and sickened dozens of people, have been linked to

contaminants associated with animal feeding operations."

   (a) Discharges and run-off from concentrated animal

   feeding operations are a major source of water

   pollution in many watersheds.

(3) Current controls on water pollution from

   concentrated animal feeding operations are

   inadequate to control surface discharges and do not

   adequately protect ground water.

(4) Additional controls on all forms of water pollution

   resulting from concentrated animal feeding

   operations are needed to protect the public health,

   water quality, and fisheries of the United States.

When we look at the liability section of the bill, we

see included in it all of the safety provisions missing from

Part 503. In fact, the most important section of this Bill

vs. Part 503, is the liability section which include:


    application of animal waste to land by a person

    shall be considered a discharge of pollutants for

    purposes of this subsection if (taking into account

    all sources of nutrients, including commercial

    fertilizers) the application of animal waste would

    result in the application of nitrogen or phosphorus

    in a quantity that exceeds the reasonable

    anticipated agronomic nutrient uptake of the

    vegetative covering or to be grown on the land.


    ESTABLISHMENT - The Administrator (EPA), in

    consultation with the Secretary of Agriculture,

    shall establish maximum permitted levels for other

    nutrients, minerals, metals, or other substances

    found in animal waste whose presence in land above

    the reasonably anticipated agronomic uptake of the

    vegetative cover growing or to be grown on the land

    would pose a significant threat of pollution to

    surface or ground water.

    (ii) EXCESS LEVELS - The application of animal

    waste to land by any person shall be considered a

    discharge of pollutants for purposes of this

    subsection if following the application of the

    animal waste the level of substance referred to in

    clause (i) would exceed the maximum permissible

    level established for the substance by the


(c)  Monitoring and Recordkeeping-Permits issued or

    renewed for concentrated animal feeding operations

    under this section shall at a minimum, specify the

    surface and ground water monitoring, recordkeeping,

    and reporting requirements necessary to ensure that

    no discharge of pollutants is occurring from the


(D)  Discharge - The term `discharge' or `discharge of

    pollutants' include the release, directly or

    indirectly to the waters of the United States, of

    animal waste or nutrients, minerals, metals, or

    other substances derived from animal waste or any

    combination thereof.

When the Bill mentioned metals, it became evident that

EPA/WEF are determined to place the blame for all

agricultural pollution run-off on animal waste.  According to

a comparison sheet prepared by Cornell scientists, animal

manure is very low in metals compared to sludge.

       Ag    Cd    Co   Cr    Cu     Ni    Pb    Zn


Dairy Manure 0.09  0.7   2.2   ---   18.   9.6    7.5  150.

Milorganite 24.00  7.2   4.1  2940. ---   31.0  130.0  450.
Syracuse-   11.90  5.6  11.0   130. 590.  36.0  132.0  545.


If EPA doesn't know or won't control all of the toxic

materials in sludge, how will it determine the permitted

levels for minerals, or other substances found in animal

waste which it wants to regulate?  Phosphorus is not even

mentioned in the Part 503 and the control of nitrogen is a

management practice. Not only that, but this Bill, based on

the term `vegetative cover', would stop the manure from even

being used on crops, organic or otherwise.

The Bill even discusses the owner's liability for a

civil suit penalty for violating this act.  However, if the

manure is mixed with sludge, it becomes a fertilizer and

there are no penalty provisions in Part 503--and in fact--EPA

claims no one will be held liable for human health or

environmental damages from the use of sludge, if the Part 503

is followed, even if a Superfund site is created.  EPA can

effectively use this section of the bill to blackmail farmers

into using sludge. The new law enacted by Congress regulating

manure will also be used against vocal farm owners who oppose

EPA land application policy for sludge.

While we do not argue that mismanaged animal waste can

cause problems, and large concentrated animal feeding

operations should be regulated, both EPA and Congress know

animal waste is not the primary problem causing water


Part of the water contamination source was pointed out

in an article "The Safe Drinking Water Act in Retrospect"

published in the EPA Journal, Summer of 1994 edition.

According to the article:

The National Resource Defense Council (NRDC) has

recently completed an analysis of the protection and

treatment techniques currently used by the nation's largest

drinking-water systems. The results of this analysis were

published in a March 1994 report entitled "Victorian Water

Treatment Enters the 21st Century." Brian A. Cohen and Erik

B.  Olson, authors, found:

The vast majority of large water supplies do little

or nothing to prevent contamination of the watershed or

groundwater that they rely on for source water. About

two-thirds of large surface water systems have failed to

adopt even minimal watershed protection techniques such

as watershed land ownership and stream or reservoir

buffers to prevent runoff or discharge of chemical or

microbiologically polluted water into the source water.

    More than 90 percent of major water utilities have

failed to install modern post World War I chemical

contamination removal technology despite widespread

chemical contamination.  Scores of major systems have

not installed basic 19th Century filtration and particle

removal technology needed to protect water from

dangerous microbes.  As of 1989, nearly 50 large

groundwater systems provided no water treatment

whatsoever--not even basic disinfection.

    Aged, crumbling distribution systems are neglected

and are often the cause of waterborne disease outbreaks.

The network of pipes that carries the water from the

treatment plant to the customer contain millions of

pipes made with lead and as a result, millions of

Americans are exposed to unsafe levels of lead in the

drinking water. (p.15)

It appears that EPA, USDA and WEF are placing the entire

blame for food and waterborne outbreaks of diseases on

contamination from animal manure to draw attention away from

sludge. Although the Milwaukee outbreak was blamed on animal

manure, CDC's Emerging Infectious Diseases/Volume 3 Number 4/

October-December 1997, reported that some samples that were

taken from infected people during the 1993 Milwaukee

outbreak showed a human type of crytosporidium. CDC has

identified 2 strains of crytosporidium, one animal and one

human. According to the report:

The genotypic and infection data from the four isolates

we examined suggest a human rather than bovine source...

Furthermore, of the isolates tested in experimental

infection studies, none could successfully infect

laboratory animals.  These results lead us to suggest

the possibility of a second transmission cycle that is

anthroponotic and maintained through person-to-person

contact or through human sewage contamination of the

water supply." (pp.7-8)

The human type of crytosporidium were also found in a

Georgia water park outbreak in 1995 as well as a Florida

outbreak in 1995. The October 20, 1997 issue of Sludge

reported the pfiestria organism outbreak in Chesapeake bay is

linked to municipal waste discharge sites and swine effluent


The Newsletter SLUDGE reported the real problem with

disposal of waste whether manure or effluent or sludge is

the numerous deliberate violations:

July 30, 1997 issue--In Virginia, Smithfield Foods, Inc.

was found liable for up to 7,000 violations of dumping

hog waste into a Chesapeake Bay tributary between 1991

and 1996.  The state was admonished a number of time by

EPA for not carrying out federal environmental

requirements.  The Plant manager was jailed for

destroying and falsifying records. The $4 billion pork

processor's chairman gave $125,000 to the governor's

political campaign while he was trying to negotiate a

settlement of $650,000, rather than the $20 million

proposed fine.

December 1, 1997 - A Federal Judge found that Atlanta

violated the Clean Water Act and falsified monitoring

reports.  According to SLUDGE, "The Court finds as a

matter of undisputed fact that the CSO (combined sewage

overflow) treatment facilities are dumping massive

amounts of proscribed metals and fecal coliform bacteria

into the Chattahoochee River in violation of the

permits." Some examples showed the fecal coliform to be

hundreds or thousands of times higher than the limit of


November 3, 1997 - EPA proposed a $125,000 fine for

Crawford, Ind. for sludge related violations. The

violations between October 1992 and July 1997 included

releasing fecal coliform bacteria, total suspend solids,

ammonia-nitrogen, chlorine, zinc, cyanide and dissolved

oxygen into Sugar Creek as well as the City allowing

contaminated sludge to be used as a fertilizer.

July 16, 1997 - Omaha, Nebraska discharged 20 million

gallons of untreated wastewater (sewage) into the

Missouri River during June in anticipation of heavy


February 12, 1997 - Environmental Group reports Atlanta

treatment plant spills 2,000 gallons of sewage into

Chattahoochee River. The city also "accidently" spilled

500,000 gallons of sewage into the river in June 1996

and was fined $20,000 for the incident.

October 6, 1996 - New Jersey, ex-operations manager

contends he was fired because he threatened to tell the

state environmental department Rockaway Valley Regional

Sewage Authority sent untreated wastewater into the

Rockaway River during overflow events.

June 19, 1996 - In California, water contaminated by

fecal matter threatened the health of 80,000 people in

1993-1994.  Sewage discharges at 39 rivers and lakes in

the state were blamed for the contamination.

In Illinois, over 270,000 people drank contaminated

water tainted by sewage discharges at more than 1,000

locations.  Over half the rivers and all but 9 percent

of the lakes are not suitable for swimming or fishing in


In Minnesota, 12,000 residents in 22 communities drank

tap water contaminated by bacterial matter from sewage

discharges into rivers and lakes at 105 locations.

April 24, 1996 - It was reported that a former New York

City Port Commissioner and her sister could pay fines of

$250,000 and spend 5 years in jail for dumping 106 tons

of sludge in New York Harbor and other area waterways in

the late 80s and early 90s.

February 13, 1996 - John Morrell and Co. illegally

dumped slaughterhouse waste from 1985 to 1993 into the

Big Sioux River in Sioux Falls, S.D. and falsified test

data and monitoring reports.  Most of the 130 violations

were committed over a 17 month period in 1991-1992.  The

company was fined $3 million.

If Congressman Miller is really worried about the

pollution in our air, in our water, in our food, and on our

land, he and Congress should insist that EPA employees

actually enforce the current federal environmental laws for

sludge disposal.

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