Milwaukee has led the charge to put the public health at risk with the use of sludge as a fertilizer. It even conspired with
EPA to remove chromium from the part 503 guidelines by misleading a federal court. That didn't quite work, so EPA lied
about the courts act.

If you remember, ocean dumping of sewage sludge was stopped because the ocean environment and its inhabitants
were being destroyed. The Public Relations (PR) spin at the time was that it would be safer to use sewage sludge as a
fertilizer. There appears to have been a lapse of common sense here because this use violated the Resource
Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA). Even some environmental groups bought into the PR campaign and promoted
its use. The major environment groups even signed a consent agreement that they would not sue EPA over use of
sludge on land.

It would appear none of the environmental groups bothered to read the warning in the laws which said there would be
deaths, cancer, diseases, genetic mutations, etc., from exposure to the pollutants in the concentrated sewage sludge
through the air, water and food chain when it was disposed on farms, parks and lawns.
Now we have plagues upon the land that effects half the population each year. It would appear that no one involved in
this mess ever considered that they would have to eat the contaminated food, drink the toxic water or breathe the
polluted air. Those environmental groups who made peace with EPA in order to stop ocean dumping of sludge should
take the advise of Mr. Nichols' (NVIRO) partner, Eric Dezenhall, who said: "If you live by the sword, you may die by the
sword, but if you live by the olive branch, you may still die by the sword."

What we tend to forget is that the original PR spin was to protect municipalities
who had been selling contaminated sludge as a fertilizer. Some of them such as Milwaukee, had been selling sludge as
a fertilizer since 1926. Some of it was heat-dried, but more often it was composted. Even the last National Academy of
Science Committee who looked at the sludge regulation acknowledged composting sludge to create the so called Class
A, doesn't kill the pathogenic disease organisms. What's more, they let stand without comment, the EPA's opinion, that
the compost was probably still safe for unrestricted use. Probably safe is not a very scientific opinion considering the
history. However, this is the "sound science" we have to deal with today.

Hazardous waste in fertilizer is not new. Milwaukee has been selling this dangerous material to the public since 1926.
Before 1985, the tannery waste chromium in Milwaukee's sludge fertilizer, Milorganite, was "Listed" (known) by EPA as a
hazardous waste because of the high chromium content. In 1985, EPA began promoting the use of hazardous waste as
a fertilizer without warning the farmers or the public of the adverse human health effects associated with the dangerous
materials. In the preamble to the proposed part 503, EPA listed 21 inorganic and organic chemicals known to cause
cancer in humans. Five of the inorganic chemicals (metals) are known to cause cancer when inhaled on dust. In 1995,
EPA admitted that it did not include any of these chemicals in its 14 pathway risk assessment. See

When EPA released the final 40 CFR part 503 in February 1993, it had to include one small hazard warning as the
definition for a pollutant. EPA admits in part 503.9(t) that the Administrator has the documents on file which show that
exposure to any of the chemicals or disease causing agents in sludge throught air, water or food could cause death,
disease, cancer or worse.

Yet, according to a 1995 paper entitled "The Biosolids (Sludge) Treatment, Beneficial Use,
and Disposal Situation in the USA" by Robert K. Bastian of the Office of Wastewater Management of the EPA, there will
be more exposure to sludge in the future. He says:
A wide range of land application practices for
beneficially recycling biosolids {sewage sludge} have
been investigated and employed to date, including
application to many urban parks and golf courses,
cropland, rangeland, forests, and a variety of disturbed
and marginally productive areas (e.g., stripmined areas,
construction sites, etc.). Land application projects
are underway involving biosolids from many large
metropolitan areas (including Washington, D.C., New York
City, Philadelphia, Pittsburg, Chicago, Milwaukee,
Minneapolis, St. Paul, Denver, Albuquerque, Seattle,
Portland, and Los Angeles) as well as thousands of
smaller cities and towns across the U.S., especially in
the Midwest. (p. 3)

According to Collongs in his book, Commercial Fertilizers, (1955). "It would be expected that the `rare earths'
(hazardous metal pollutants) would remain in the soil more tenaciously than the common elements,--."
Collings (1955) noted that the rare earth elements,
"Aluminum, Arsenic, barium, chromium, flourine, lead,
molybdenum, selenium, and thallium have been shown to be
toxic to plants or animals at relatively low
concentrations." (p. 163)

Furthermore, Collins noted that, "Rehling and Truog
(1939) found that milorganite (Milwaukee's commercial
sludge fertilizer) contained many of the rarer
elements (Hazardous metal pollutants)."

According to Collings, while sewage sludge has been used as a mixture in commercial fertilizer since 1927, the
milorganite sludge was, "freed from grit and course solids and aerated after being inoculated with microorganisms. The
resulting flocculated organic matter is filtered, dried in rotary kilns, and then ground and screened." (p. 130, Commercial
Fertilizer, Fifth Edition, 1955, Mcgraw Hill)

The NRC Committee appears to have based their opinion that sludge is safe for use on crops on the same type of
processed sludge, which would have an extremely reduced pathogen level. However, the treatment process would not
effect the toxic and carcinogenic heavy metal
levels in the sludge.

Furthermore, according to recent media reports, milorganite is banned in Maryland, yet, it is a far cry from EPA's current
part 503 "Commercial Fertilizer" which may contain 98 percent liquid, disease causing agents (25 acknowledge
pathogen (disease) groups) and 21 acknowledged cancer causing agents, and over 126 priority pollutants (extremely
hazardous substances).

The EPA Office of Water refers to all substances that can cause health problems, deformation of fetuses, disease and
cancer or death as pollutants.The ten inorganic chemical pollutants  which were listed in Part 503 were reduced to nine
when chromium was deleted. Although the pollutant limits for molybdenum in sludge applied to land
were deleted, the molybdenum ceiling limits were retained.

In December 1992, before the final Part 503 was released, the Water Environment Federation's Washington Bulletin
published Milwaukee's complaint about EPA's limits on molybdenum and chromium. It was Milwaukee's contention that "A
limit of 1,200 mg/kg on chromium will necessitate pretreatment of this wastewater if Milwaukee is to continue marketing
its Milorganite product." According to Tom Crawford, "Landfilling our sludge would be a much more costly
option." (p. 3)

Milwaukee also had another major public relation's problem with the Milorganite sludge product. In 1987, it was
associated with an unusually high number of cases of Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) in the Milwaukee area and on ball
fields. Lou Gehrig's disease has been associated with exposure to selenium. EPA also had a public relation's problem
with the beneficial use section of its regulation: more chromium could be put on your lawn than could be  disposed of in
a Part 503 surface disposal landfill.

While the Court could only address those points in question, chromium and selenium limits, it did point out the limits of
EPA's statutory authority, "Although the EPA is not held to a standard of precise refinement, it is held to one of
rationality and it must supply a reasoned basis for its
regulatory choices." (p. 405)

When EPA's Alan Rubin, was asked about the court action on chromium, he said, "you just
couldn't defend it." So in 1996, EPA removed Chromium limits from the beneficial use section of the 503 regulation.
However, Chromium was still restricted at a very low limit in a part 503 surface disposal landfill

The only other heavy metal addressed by the suit was selenium. According to the court records, in order for the City of
Pueblo, Colorado, to use its sludge on the highway meridians, the selenium limit needed to be raised. In the suit the
court ruled: "We conclude, however, that the EPA has failed to show that the 99th percentile caps are risk-related, and
thus that they accord with the express mandate of the statute." (p. 400)

Using the findings of the court as a justification for its actions, EPA arbitrarily raised the selenium limit to 100 mg/kg to
accommodate the City of Pueblo in their beneficial use of sludge on the highway meridians. In taking this action they
ignored the selenium limit recommendation of the USDA.

On page 56 of the Part 503 Risk Assessment Document, it states, "USDA recommended limiting the addition to soil of
selenium in biosolids to 28 kg/ha to avoid excessive plant uptake and possible poisoning of certain sensitive livestock or
wildlife." If selenium is taken up by food crops it could poison sensitive humans also.

As noted earlier, selenium has been linked to Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS). In 1987, a series of Milwaukee Journal
articles from January and February, focused on the connection between three San Francisco 49ers playing on fields
spread with Milorganite sludge fertilizer, who contracted Lou Gehrig's disease and two MMSD Milorganite plant
employees who died of the disease. By February 10, 1987, the reporters found an additional 39 ALS patients who had
some exposure to Milorganite.

According to the articles, as many as 115 PEOPLE had died from ALS in the past eight
years. The ALS death rate for Milwaukee County was 1.6 %, one percent higher than the state average. Two out of the
155 documented MMSD employee deaths were caused by ALS...

The normal rate for ALS is about 2 in 100,000. According to the article "The son [of one of the victims] said that the
father knew of "four or five" ALS cases at the plant over the last 25 to 30 years."

According to the Milwaukee Journal article titled "EPA LAUNCHES MILORGANITE PROBE, dated February 12, 1987, the
EPA planned a scientific investigation into a possible link between Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS) and the cadmium,
chromium or other substances in MMSD's Milorganite fertilizer. In the article, Rubin, "conceded that there were not many
studies about the possible health hazards of sludge and sludge products."

While EPA claimed it would start a scientific investigation of the connection between Lou Gehrig's disease and
Milorganite in 1987, it did not happen. EPA had no intention of investigating any harm from sludge. Instead EPA gave
the Water Environment Federation (WEF) a public relations grant to debunk the story and others. (National Sludge
Alliance, Public Facts #101)

Ten years later, 1997, an EPA funded "fact sheet" was produced by the WEF which of course debunked the connection
between Milorganite and Lou Gehrig's disease.

The numerical limits for the ten heavy metals set by the EPA, which were the highest ever set in the United States and
several magnitudes higher than the limits in Europe, were determined based on several assumptions that have been
disputed by some soil scientists. One of these assumptions is that heavy metals are adsorbed to the sewage sludge
matrix and are less available for uptake into plants.

EPA chose an indirect method to take care of the regulatory problems and protect Milwaukee and other municipalities
from the liability of handling sludge with high chromium content as well as the Milwaukee's public relation's problem with
selenium. EPA let the courts set the stage for completely removing chromium from the beneficial section of the
regulation and raising the selenium limits.

It is clear that EPA engineered the lawsuit to assist its partners (the Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies
(AMSA) and Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District) under the shelter of Leather Industries of America, Inc., to
completely remove chromium from regulation. If chromium was not removed from the regulation, Milwaukee's Class A
Milorganite sludge fertilizer would have exceeded the Part 503 limits for chromium with the associated liability and the
Leather Industry would have had the additional expense for pretreatment of its wastewater containing up to 30,000
mg/kg of hexavalent chromium in it.

In 1994, the Leather Industries of America, the City of Milwaukee, and the Association of Metropolitan Sewage Agencies
challenged EPA's National Sewage Sludge Survey (NSSS) in a court case, because it didn't include any treatment plants
where tannery waste chromium is received in excess of 30,000 mg/kg (ppm).

According to the court record, the highest level of chromium reported in the EPA's NSSS
was 3,750 mg/kg (p.401). (United States Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit, Nos. 93-1187, 93-1376, 93-1404
and 93-1555)

The court found several problems with the data base for chromium limits in Part 503 sludge rule. According to the Court
records, which only refer to heat-dried sludge, EPA could not document whether it had actually performed sampling and
analysis at 208 or 180 of the 479 treatment plants in the survey (both numbers were given) -out of a national total of
11,407 (p.395).

According to the Judge:
... The AMSA challenges the risk-based caps in Table 3. It argues that the assumptions about the rate and duration of
sludge application underlying the risk-based caps in Table 3 are irrational with respect to heat- dried sludge, which is
applied at lower rates for shorter duration. For what ever reason, the EPA chose not to respond to this particular claim,
and the AMSA has been less than totally clear about what parts of the regulation are allegedly infected by the use of
these assumptions. We are, accordingly, somewhat handicapped in evaluating the challenge. Nonetheless, on the
record, we conclude that EPA has not adequately justified its use of the assumed rate and duration of application to
apply the risk-based caps in Table 3 to heat-dried sludge. (40 Federal Reporter, 3d series, p. 402)

Primarily, the Court ruling only concerned Chromium in heat-dried sludge (Milorganite), a product of the Milwaukee
Metropolitan Sewerage District. It appears that the Court was led to believe by both the challengers and EPA that all
"clean" (EQ) sludges in 40 CFR 503.13(b) were heat-dried and EPA's enforcement of the regulation was primarily
directed at Milwaukee's "Milorganite fertilizer", which has extremely high levels of chromium in it. (40 Federal Reporter,
3d series p. 402

According to the Court:
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to supply rational basis for its assumed application duration and rate
underlying regulatory safe harbor for land application of "clean" sewage sludge, in light of the available information that
actual application rate and duration of use for heat-dried sludge were well below EPA's assumptions. 40 CFR
503.13(b)." (p. 392)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of ColumbiaCircuit also found that the 503 Regulation was not scientifically
risked based as claimed by the EPA. The Court noted that, "while EPA "may `err' on the side of overprotection," it "may
not engage in sheer guesswork (p.408)."

According to the Court, EPA did not adequately defend the science behind the chromium limits in Part 503. They ruled
due to, "(4) the lack of data to support the risked-based cap on chromium (3,000 ppm), we remand those parts of the
regulation to the EPA for modification or additional justification." (p. 394)

Evidently John Walker and EPA have a problem with understanding what the court meant by the words remand and
modification. According to Webster's New World Dictionary, The word Remand means to send back. The word
Modification means to alter or change. Neither one of these means drop.

What the court wanted them to do was either revise or justify their position based on the fact that hexavalent tannery
chromium was being dumped into the treatment plants at 30,000 ppm. The Court did not order EPA to drop chromium
from the regulation as John Walker claimed in the 1995 Guide to the Part 503 Risk Assessment.
Walker lied when he wrote:
The court stated that EPA should drop chromium from the
Part 503 rule because the biosolids risk assessment did
not identify any chromium level associated with risk to
public health or the environment. EPA agrees and plans
to delete all chromium limits for land-applied biosolids
from the Part 503 rule. (p. 56)

What the Court also found was that EPA had failed to fulfill the statutory requirement of the law to create regulations
"adequate to protect public health and the environment from any reasonable adverse effects."

The Court noted that there are two forms of Chromium (hexavalent and trivalent) and that EPA had "delisted' chromium
(removed it from the hazardous waste list) in the tanning industry because this chromium is in the trivalent form." (p.406)
The Court also noted, "there are several studies cited in the record showing that trivalent chromium can oxidize to
hexavalent chromium." (p.406)

According to EPA, although there are only 2 types of chromium, Trivalent (chromium III) and Hexavalent (chromium VI),
due to the sewage treatment process, only the Trivalent form is found in sewage sludge. For this reason, supposedly
EPA was trying to take chromium out of the regulation. Yet, in a sludge analysis given to the State of Texas by Merco,
dated 14 August 1991, New York City specifically listed Hexavalent chromium in sludge from all of its 14 treatment

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. Their backup PR spin is that the home cooks fail
to wash their hands before handing food. EPA blamed the Milwaukee outbreak on animal manure contaminating the
drinking water supply. However, that was to divert the focus away from sewage and sludge because,  according to
researchers, "When disease case estimates were adjusted for normal background diarrheal disease rates, investigators
estimated that 403,000 residents of the five-county area experienced illness caused by the cryptosporidiosis outbreak
(6). Of this group, an estimated 354,600 persons (88%) did not seek medical attention; 44,000 persons (11%) were
seen as outpatients; and 4,400 persons (1%) were hospitalized."  Various estimates for deaths have ranged from just a
few to over 400.  Most researcher have put deaths at over a hundred.

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

Milwaukee's story illustrates how we are play Russian Roulette by using sludge where the deadly disease organisms can
contaminate our drinking water supply. All we need is a mistake by a treatment plant operator or a piece of equipment
malfunctioning and there will be another major disaster.
Jim Bynum