Thursday, February 5, 2009

Sludge: How severe the threat?

Received an email in response to the story with food safety lawyer Bill Marler. The email was from Jim Bynum, retired safety consultant and associated with the group Help for Sewage Victims and the following Web sites;

Here is an excerpt from the email:

Having had a farm destroyed by E. coli and Salmonella right here in Kansas City, I can assure you there is more to food contamination incidents than meets the eye. EPA and FDA have to come out of the closet and be honest with the public to stop this mess. The 12,000 acre Salinas Valley is being irrigated with reclaimed sewage effluent. Pathogen contaminated sewage sludge is spread on our farms and sold for our lawns. It is going to get worse, not better. The cattle and produce industries are taking the blame and paying the cost for this old EPA scam (the people who started it are retired) -- and current ignorance. See below for an Open Letter to the Regulators.

A recent survey of federal and state wastewater regulators indicates they have put public health at risk based on a Term of Art they do not understand because they are not biologists. Newspaper reporters pass on this Term of Art in good faith even though it is a very dangerous lie. As an example, in June 2008, the town of Hadley, MA. took 15 drinking water samples and nine were contaminated with coliform bacteria. According to Diane Lederman, writing in the July 12th issue of, THE REPUBLICAN, unidentified officials said, "No fecal coliform was detected, and there is no health risk with the coliform." A little joke here by the wastewater regulators who do understand the Term of Art since the fecal coliform test is simply a test run at 16-18 degrees higher temperature than the coliform test. Most of the coliform are pathogenic members of the Enterobacteriaceae family, (including E. coli, Enterbacter, Salmonella and shigella) and are inactivated at the higher test temperature.


While farms have been destroyed, or badly damaged, from Washington (Zander & Anderson) to Missouri (Minter & Roller) to Vermont (Rune) to Georgia (Boyce & McElmurray), so far, farmers and cattlemen have not been looked at as a possible source of contaminated meat that was grazed on sludge amended pastures -- but they will be. So far, farmers have not been looked at as a source of contaminated vegetables or peanuts grown on sludge or irrigated with reclaimed water -- but they will be.

Go here for the open letter to the EPA.

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