Archive for sludge

WaPo promoting growing food with toxic sewage sludge, saying it's safe enough to put in your mouth

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Greenwashing 101, via an email from a pal and a fantastic source, Hugh Kaufman, (senior policy analyst with the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response):

The Washington Post is saying that toxic sewage sludge is safe enough to put in your mouth. And... it isn't. Here's today's article.

The sewage plant in the article is actually in the process of getting sued over this stuff. And yet they are in the Washington Post as a great example of a safe, natural fertilizer for farms and gardens, and the lawsuit is NOT mentioned.  Pretty outrageous, eh?

Very outrageous:

Sludge contaminants include many hazardous chemicals that are found in sewage sludge. Hundreds of communities across the U.S. sell toxic sludge products that are typically renamed biosolids and sold or given away as "organic fertlizer" or "organic compost."

Here's a list of some chemicals and pathogens in sewage sludge.

Then there's this:

Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey, a 2009 EPA study, concluded that all sewage sludge contains toxic and hazardous materials, including large numbers of endocrine disruptors.

Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey results are described in two EPA reports published in 2009. EPA found that dozens of hazardous materials, not regulated and not required to be tested for, have been documented in each and every one of the sludge samples EPA took around the USA. [1] Hundreds of communities across the U.S. sell sludge products that are renamed biosolids and sold or given away as "organic fertilizer."

Here's a list of what the EPA's own testing found in it.

And here's what's actually regulated (class A is the same as class B but with tighter standards on fecal coliform):

Despite the U.S. EPA's assurances of safety,[1], the safety requirements for Class B Biosolids are insufficient to ensure safety. Animals fed forage crops grown in soil fertilized with Class B Biosolids have died and humans working in the fields where Class B Biosolids were applied have been sickened.[2]

Sounds about as safe as the seafood and overall environment after the BP oil disaster, not to mention those "safe" nuclear reactors we are told to "believe" will hold up after major earthquakes.

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Coast Guard revises rules limiting media access to oil disaster response areas

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It's about time:

The Coast Guard has revised rules limiting access around oil spill cleanup and boom operations, now giving media access within a 65-foot "safety zone" as long as they carry proper credentials.

Retired Adm. Thad Allen said Tuesday that "The press are to have clear, unfettered access to this event, with two exceptions - if there is a safety or security concern. This boom is critical to the defense of the marshes and the beaches."

Wait. I smell a loophole. Who's calling the shots? Who's the decider? Who will determine if there is a safety or security concern? Anyone else raising an eyebrow?

Pfft, silly me. What could possibly go wrong? I'm sure it will all be hunky dory.

Previously, photographers were unable to snap photos of gooped-up wildlife. Gee, that would, you know, make BP look bad.

Media can travel within the 65-foot safety zone as long as they have credentials and follow safety rules.

But what exactly is that "safety zone" they speak of?

[T]he safety zone was created "to prevent boats from going over the top of booms; it is not intended to limit media access."

So we can fully expect to see many more images that will enhance our pre-existing angst and anger condition, right?

Stay tuned.

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EPA's Stanislaus just doesn't get it.

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I have posted about the deadly effects of dispersants over and over again. All of those posts can be found here.  This problem, the threats to our health and the health of the ocean and its sea life, isn't hard to understand. In fact, it's easy, and yet our own EPA seems to have a collective mental block... maybe an intentional one.

Exhibit 23789437438792437:

Commission members expressed skepticism about some of the testimony about dispersants and oil waste from Mathy Stanislaus, the Environmental Protection Agency's assistant administrator for the Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. [...]

"While the use of dispersants represents an environmental tradeoff, it's important to understand that oil is the No. 1 enemy and dispersants are not as toxic and the oil they break down," Stanislaus said. "Dispersants break down over weeks rather than persisting for years as oil might."

Ahh, I get it.  Dispersant is bad, but oil is much worse. Oh, so it's all relative? Okay then, let's see, if I smoke a cigarette with a filter, it's not as "toxic"? If I stand in front of a compact car instead of a Hummer and let it hit me, it won't be as deadly? I'll only get smushed instead of pulverized?  I see.

Hold on to your booms, it gets worse:

But when Stanislaus said that tests of oil collected as waste showed it wasn't hazardous, he was challenged by commission member Terry Garcia, an executive vice president of the National Geographic Society.

Terry Garcia is a smart executive vice president:

"You say the dispersant is not as toxic as the oil, but you're saying the solid waste that contains the oil is not dangerous and is being dumped in a non-hazardous landfill. How is that possible?" Garcia said.

Stanislaus said the EPA has used independent monitoring to assure themselves that there's no danger, but promised to keep monitoring.

Speaking of sludge/tar ball landfill, did you see this video I posted the other day?<
Now back to Stanislaus's hokum already in progress:

"We do believe the process needs to be changed," Stanislaus acknowledged.

Um, yeah. One might say that. And Stanislaus himself just did, which says it all.

FYI, Stanislaus is Hugh Kaufman's boss. Hugh is the one who linked me to this article, and he is also a senior policy analyst at the EPA’s office of solid waste and emergency response.

If you want to read something even more disturbing, take a look at this piece (which includes input by Dr. Riki Ott, marine toxicologist and foremost authority of the Exxon Valdez disaster), sent to me by Barkway.

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VIDEO: Toxic sludge, tar balls, Gulf waste "guarded by the police??"

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I have e-mailed the producer of this video. Hopefully, I'll have a follow-up soon. Meanwhile, just watch (h/t: Marc R):

And now for the obligatory fundraiser:

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