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The Land Application of Municipal Sludge. “ The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself” Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Gary Scott Al Guidry, PHD. Acknowledgements.

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The land application of municipal sludge l.jpg

The Land Application ofMunicipal Sludge

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic state itself”Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


Acknowledgements l.jpg
Acknowledgements

C. W. Williams, Chair CPS Medical

Bioslolids Information Group Home Medical Equipment

VDH-BURAC-Citizens Representative Charlottesville, VA

434-984-2888

Al Guidry, PHD

Biological Research in Agriculture

37 years research with USDA

Nelson County Resident

Commonwealth Coalition (35 County Coalition)

Campbell County Against Toxic Sludge (CATS)

Shenandoah County Alliance Against Toxic Sludge, LLC

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


Outline l.jpg
Outline

  • Farm Facts

  • Overview

  • History of Sludge

  • Permit Process

  • The Rest of The Story

  • What can be done?

  • Summary

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


Farm facts l.jpg
Farm Facts

  • The average farm household income will be $75,848 in 2006, down 5.1%

  • 86.7% of that $75,848 is OFF farm income

  • There will be a 30% decrease in real farm income in 2006.

    source: USDA

  • Fertilizer whether chemical or organic is expensive, cover crops as fertilizer are expensive

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Farm Facts(cont’d)Nelson County

  • 2002 total market value of Production was $7,565,000 up 10% from 1997

  • 84,691 acres in farmland

  • Nelson County ranks #4 in fruits, tree nuts, and berries out of 95 VA counties

  • Nelson County ranks #19 in vegetables, melons, potatoes, and sweet potatoes production out 95 VA counties

    source: USDA

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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OverviewWhat are Biosolids

Biosolids are solid, semi-solid, or liquid materials, resulting from treatment of domestic sewage, that have been sufficiently processed to permit these materials to be safely land-applied.

source: Virginia Cooperative Extension

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Overview (cont’d)What are Biosolids

  • Treated sewage sludge, also known as biosolids,

    is a material formed when wastewater is processed at a treatment plant. Biosolids contain nutrients and organic matter that are useful to plants.

  • However, contaminants including metals such as arsenic, cadmium, and mercury, organic chemical pollutants and disease causing organisms may be present in low levels.

    source: Virginia Department of Health

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Overview (cont’d)

U.S. produces 8 million tons per year so what do we do with it?

  • Sludge can be incinerated

  • Sludge can be placed in land-fills

  • Sludge can be land applied, which is the least expensive method

  • Can be Converted to biomass fuels

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Overview (cont’d)

In an effort to make sludge more marketable and ease public concern, the industry adopted the word biosolids

Thus the campaign began to promote sludge as a safe fertilizer

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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History of Sludge

  • In 1988, Congress passed the Ocean Dumping Reform Act, as part of the Clean Water Act thus requiring a complete end to ocean dumping by June 1991

  • As an alternative, the EPA promulgated in 1993 what has become known as the 503 Rule which allows the land application of processed sewage sludge (biosolids). Sets minimum standards for nine heavy metals.

  • The 503 Rule regulates Land Application

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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History of Sludge (cont’d)Rule 503 permits two classes of biosolids

  • Class A, where essentially 98% of pathogens are reduced to undetectable levels. Class A can be purchased in stores (Milorganite)

  • Class B, in which about 90% of the bacteria, 90% of the viruses, a lower percentage of parasites are said to be killed

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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History of Sludge (cont’d)

  • Class B is the sludge being land applied, because it is less expensive because it is less treated

  • The proposed sites in Nelson County would be receiving Class B Sludge with the initial source being Middlesex, NJ

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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History of Sludge (cont’d)

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) have determined that the land application of municipal sludge when applied “properly” poses no serious environmental or health risk.

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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History of Sludge (cont’d)

The Virginia Department of Health (VDH)states:

“VDH has been assessing both the environmental and possible health effects of biosolids. VDH is unaware of any scientific evidence to support a link between the land application of biosolids and these illnesses.”

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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History of Sludge (cont’d)

Minimum distances (feet) to land application area.

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD

Source: VDH


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History of Sludge (cont’d)Regulations

  • Cattle cannot graze on fields for 30 days after sludge application

  • Dairy cows cannot graze on fields for 60 days after sludge application

  • No public access on the site for a one year period

  • The farmer is not allowed to harvest food crops for 38 months when sludge applications remain on the surface for time period of less than 4 months prior to incorporation

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Nelson County HistoryThe following Nelson County landowners/farmers have applied for permits to apply class B biosolids on 572.1 acres

Maynard Carter, Jerry Saunders, Jr., Nancy Saunders, Charles & Jessie Umbarger, Annie Umbarger, Virginia Brewer, Joseph C. Goodwin, Charles Goodwin, and Jay Goodwin

The agreements with Synagro indicate Middlesex, NJ as the initial source

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Who is Synagro?“A Residuals Management Company”

  • “We supply farmers and commercial growers with organic fertilizers that enhance their soils and improve crop yields

  • “ Public Education and participation are vital components of our successful programs.”

  • Source: Synagro Brochure

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Land/Owner Farmer

Agreement

Permit Process

Site Maps Obtained

Field Work by Land Applier

Permit Application is Assembled & Permitted

notification

DCR

VDH

COUNTY

30 Days

Local Monitor Review

Recommendation

Field

Inspections

Comments

Inspection

Public Meeting

Additional comments up to 30 days following public meeting

Approval of Permit Application

Fields Included in Permit May

Receive Biosolids When Available

Source: VDH


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The Rest of the Story

  • The United States Federal Clean Water Act defines municipal sewage sludge as a pollutant.

  • On September 6, 2000 Robert Swank, former Research Director of at the EPA’s ORD at Athens, GA, stated under oath: “We did not think that rule (503) passed muster. If the sludge rule were put to the test today, it would miserably fail EPAs own scientific peer review process.”

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

Hugh Kaufamn, Environmental Engineer, EPA said on CNN:

“The Official U.S. Government policy is to grow food chain crops on poison and not tell the public.”

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

  • David Gilman, PHD., EPA Assistant Administrator in a response to a question about recent research was quoted as saying “Because of significant uncertainties we cannot say that it is safe or not safe”

  • David Lewis, PHD, after 30 years of service to the EPA was forced out for questioning the safety of land application of sludge. Testified before Congress under The Whistle Blower Act.

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

In 2002, a National Academy of Science panel warned that sludge is such a complex and unpredictable mix of biological and chemical wastes, that its risks when used for farming, cannot be reliably assessed. The panel concluded that standard strategies to manage these risks "do not protect public health."

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

  • In Federal government-sponsored research published in September 2006, scientists found dozens of medical, industrial, pharmaceuticals and household compounds in treated sewage sludge.

  • Thomas Burke PHD, professor of Public Health Policy at Johns Hopkins University, said this research and other studies amount to a "wake-up call" to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to scrutinize the effects of chemicals in the waste stream.

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

  • Dr. Rob Hale, William & Mary, Virginia Institute of Marine Sciences “Studies indicate that chemicals and toxins in sludge are making their way into the environment and our bodies.

  • Cornell University's Waste Management Institute, which has studies for over 25 years, has been warning about the need for further research, Dr. Ellen Harrison said new research underscores previous calls for increased regulatory scrutiny.

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

Other Organizations opposed to the land application of Sludge

National Farmers Union enacted a policy stating: “The current practice of spreading hazardous wastes and Class B biosolids on land surfaces should be discontinued to protect the soil and water of agricultural lands, from which the nation’s food is produced.”

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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The Rest of the Story (cont’d)

Other Organizations apposed to the land application of Sludge

H.J. Heinz Company, Del Monte, National Food Processors Ass., American Frozen Food Institute, Western Food Growers

“ J. M. Dryer, GM of Heinz’ Food & Technology Systems, wrote: “The risk of utilizing municipal sludge, which is known to be high in heavy metals, such as cadmium and lead, is not a health risk which we need to take. This is not a publicity statement since it is rigorously enforced and we have at times dropped suppliers who have used sludge on their crop land.”

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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What can we do?

VDH Suggestions:

  • VDH encourages counties/municipalities to adopt an approved local ordinance.

  • Each locality approved to use biosolids may hire a local monitor for monitoring and testing.

  • The expense is paid by a $2.50 per ton fee that is assessed to the water treatment facility. The County’s actual expense are reimbursable from the VDH reimbursement fund

  • VDH and the local monitor will monitor the use of biosolids on county lands.

    What can we do TODAY?

    Nelson County Supervisors can request that VDH extend another 30 days for public comment and request no application of sludge until an ordinance is passed

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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What can be done?

VDH Suggestions:

Each potential application site

  • Will have site specific requirements

  • Testing of soils and biosolids before land-application

  • Nutrient management plans

  • Disclosure to the public and land owner

  • Monitoring and reporting

  • County-led inspections

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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What can be done? (cont’d)

Regulations are being revised:

  • Posting of signs at locations near the sites that land appliers are planning to operate

  • Signs will contain contact phone numbers for additional information

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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What can be done? (cont’d)

Recent legislation passed by the 2005 General Assembly

  • Will require land appliers to provide 100 days notice to the local governing body of planned land application

  • Notification may be in the form of a list of available permitted sites

  • Notification shall include the expected source of biosolids

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Summary

Sludge Source Characteristics

  • Processing, Stabilization and Monitoring methods?

  • Transportation & Storage facilities?

    Human & Animal Health Risks:

  • Heavy Metals, Pathogens, Carcinogens?

  • Interaction & reaction effect of these coming together?

  • Effectiveness of Rules for Land Application?

  • Potential Drinking Water Contamination?

  • Creek and River Contamination?

  • Deer and other wildlife health risk?

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Summary

  • Like biosolids, DDT and tobacco were once beneficial to farmers.

  • Asbestos was once believed beneficial, has been deadly.

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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Thank You !

Gary Scott

Al Guidry, PHD


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