Ben Oostdam story # 455


On my way to bed at midnight, I checked my E-mail and found reference to a new web-site very recently established in response to an "Anti-Biosolids" conference held in PA on March 10, 2009... This website, named "Pennsylvani Biosolids" is the creation of The Pennsylvania Biosolids Recycling Alliance, more specifically, Diane Garvey - who is an environmental engineer and president of Garvey Resources, Inc., an environmental consulting company based in Lansdale, Pa.

Here is Diane's spiel:
"The Pennsylvania Biosolids Recycling Alliance supports the land application of biosolids as a safe and beneficial method of providing valuable nutrients and soil amendments for the Commonwealth's family farms. Our goal is to provide factual, research-based information about the beneficial uses of biosolids in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and to serve as a resource to citizens and public officials who want the facts about this environmentally-responsible method of recycling."

In my considered opinion, this is dangerous humbug and borders on "bioterrorism". But then, I am only a single professor, and am sorry I could not have made it to the March 10 meeting, where the only prof was representing the highly reputable Cornell Waste Management Institute.

So let the farmers themselves do their own talking, especially the biosolids (formerly "sludge") - spreading ones. Admittedly, they may be biased because they can save thousands of dollars since biosolids are free or sometimes farmers get paid for the privilege of receiving biosolids - a k a. "toxic substances that are good for you"...

For this purpose, I am using data Garvey her goodself circulated:

If recycling of biosolids is, indeed, a "widespread and accepted" practice, how come that the shrewd and reputable farmers of one of the World's best farmland regions, namely Lancaster, York and Berk's Counties, seem to have overwhelmingly rejected the idea by not accepting the offer? Their "vote" is reflected in the small percentages of farms who accept biosolids:

PA COUNTY: Number of DEP -
approved farms:
Total number
of farms:
Percentage of farms
accepting biosolids:
BERKS: 64 1,791 3.57
LANCASTER 62 5,293 1.17
YORK: 52 2,546 2.04
TOTAL: 178 9.630 1.85

I think it is significant that after more than two decades of EPA and DEP c.s. "hard sells". only less than two percent of the relevant PA farms have "seen the light", i.e. concur that biosolids are good for you. And since I do have a solid respect for PA farmers, I rest my case!

BLO fecit 20090329_30 - Sludge Victims - stories