CONTENTS - RE: LOCAL CONTROL
1 - Federal Clean Water Act - “disposal or use of sludge is a LOCAL determination”
2 - 40 CFR Part 503 (federal sludge rules) Sec. 503.5(b) a political subdivision of a state may impose requirements for use or disposal of sewage sludge more stringent than part 503 rule.
(“political subdivisions” of a state include cities, towns, counties, townships, etc.)
3 - A PLAIN ENGLISH GUIDE TO THE EPA PART 503 BIOSOLIDS RULE:
4 - Page 2 - LOCAL REGULATIONS may be more stringent than the Federal part 503
5 - Page 12 - Exclusions from Part 503 - Part 503 does NOT include requirements for the
selection of a biosolids use or disposal practice. The determination of the biosolids use
or disposal practice is a LOCAL DECISION.
6 - Page 23 - EPA says “if allowed under state law, municipalities also may regulate the
use and disposal of biosolids within their borders.”
[I disagree with EPA’s implication that states may preempt local authority - “if
allowed” - The Clean Water Act does NOT make “local determination” conditional
upon permission from the State . . . nor does it make “local determination” subject to
recision by the State.}
7 - EPA sludge office tells EPA Office of Inspector General investigation of health impacts
from sludge is NOT an EPA responsibility, but the responsibility of NIOSH, CDC AND
LOCAL HEALTH DEPARTMENTS.
EPA sludge office tells EPA Office of Inspector General to revise their report to include
the following statement:
“The Agency does support beneficial reuse of biosolids, but IT IS THE RESPONSIBILITY OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT TO MAKE LOCAL DECISIONS
REGARDING USE AND DISPOSAL OPTIONS . . . “
8 - EPA sludge office tells Wisconsin Sludge/Biosolids Coordinator “ . . . it is the responsibility of LOCAL GOVERNMENT to make LOCAL DECISIONS regarding use and disposal options (of sewage sludge) that are consistent with the Part 503 rule.”
[Part 503.5(b) of federal sludge rule provides that cities, towns, counties and townships may impose requirements for use or disposal of sewage sludge more stringent than part 503 rule.)
9 - Federal Register - Preamble to Part 503 Sludge Rule --LOCAL COMMUNITIES
“REMAIN FREE TO IMPOSE MORE STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS”
FEDERAL REGISTER - VOLUME 58, No. 32 - Friday, February 19, 1993
PREAMBLE TO THE PART 503 SLUDGE RULES -- COMMENTS ON THE “LOCAL CONTROL” ISSUE:
Page 9251 - “Preserve a Local Community’s Choice of a Disposal Practice.
Although the Agency prefers local communities to use their sewage sludge for its beneficial properties rather than simply disposing of it, EPA’s responsibility is to set standards for each practice that are adequate to protect public health and the environment.
While the choice of a use or disposal practice is reserved to local communities by section 405(e) of the CWA (Clean Water Act), protection of public health and the environment, where risks are significant, dictate stringent pollutant limits.”
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Page 9261 - “Section 405(d)(5) also provides that nothing in the section is intended to waive more stringent requirements in the CWA or any other law. This means that States AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES remain free to impose more stringent requirements than those included in today’s rule.
In addition, as described later in the preamble, where EPA has established requirements applicable to sewage sludge under other statutes, compliance with regulations established under those states also constitutes compliance with part 503.
Section 405(e) was further amended to read as follows:
The determination of the manner of disposal for use of sludge is a LOCAL DETERMINATION, except that it shall be unlawful for any person to dispose of sludge from a publicly owned treatment works or any other treatment works treating domestic sewage for any use for which regulations have been established pursuant to subsection (d) of this section, except in accordance with such regulations.”
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Page 9262 - State Requirements - The information on existing State requirements summarized below was gathered as part of EPA’s effort in developing guidance for writing sewage sludge interim permits prior to promulgation of the part 503 standards.
Under section 510 of the CWA, States, political subdivisions of States and interstate agencies retain the authority to adopt or enforce more stringent standards than those provided in today’s part 503 regulations.”
(My note: “Political subdivisions” of States include cities, towns, counties and townships.)
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Page 9263 - “In one State, the development and enforcement of controls on all methods of sewage sludge use and disposal are delegated entirely to local agencies, as is issuance of permits. In other States, LOCAL AS WELL AS STATE CONTROLS are imposed on the use and disposal of sewage sludge.”
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Page 9325 - “Although EPA encourages the beneficial use of sewage sludge (e.g. through land application), the selection of a sewage sludge use or disposal practice, whether land application or some other use or disposal practice, IS A LOCAL DETERMINATION (e.g. the responsibility of the municipality or authority responsible for the use or disposal of sewage sludge).
THE LAW IS CLEAR - SLUDGE USE OR DISPOSAL IS A LOCAL DETERMINATION. NOWHERE IN THE CLEAN WATER ACT OR 40 CFR PART 503 ARE STATES AUTHORIZED TO PREEMPT OR RESCIND LOCAL DECISION MAKING AUTHORITY REGARDING THE USE OR DISPOSAL OF SEWAGE SLUDGE.
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10- June 26, 2002 - Robert Bastian of US EPA agrees “IT WAS ALSO CLEARLY
STATED THAT . . . LOCAL COMMUNITIES REMAIN FREE TO IMPOSE MORE STRINGENT REQUIREMENTS . . . “
11 - National Research Council - “Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and
Practices” - July 2, 2002 - Page 18 - Reiteration of 1996 NRC Recommendations:
“ , , , local units of government (should) have the necessary REGULATORY
AUTHORITY to take corrective actions against parties who have violated rules
Sewage Fertilizer Under Fire http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/10/29/eveningnews/main580816.shtml
ROBESONIA, Penn., Oct. 29, 2003
(CBS) When Danny Pennock, a healthy 17-year-old, grew critically ill with a mysterious staph infection both his parents and his doctors were at a loss.
"I knew. I knew right away the day I took him into the hospital. I knew he wasn't coming home. I just knew it," said Danny's mother, Antoinette Pennock.
Eight years later, the Pennocks say they believe what killed their son came from the farmer's field across the street.
"What gave him the staph?" asked CBS News Correspondent Mika Brzezinski.
"The sludge that was put on this property over here," Antoinette said.
Class B sludge is a powerful agricultural fertilizer that includes treated sewage and human waste.
It's perfectly legal, but the Pennocks are among the growing numbers who believe it is lethal, too.
"It's like a toxic soup," said Russell Pennock, Danny's father.
And did he believe the sludge killed his son?
"I know it did. I'll stand behind that 'til the day I die," he said.
The use of sewage sludge has been in practice for years. The government promotes it as not only safe, but a huge improvement over the old system of dumping raw sewage into rivers and the ocean.
"I think we've been using it for about 10 years," said David Taliaferro.
The Virginia farmer says treated sludge boosts crop production, saves him money because farmers get it for free, and is backed by the government.
"I am operating on the assumption that the government is doing its job and that the product that I have is a safe product to use," said Taliaferro.
"I can't answer it's safe. I can't answer it's not safe," said Paul Gilman.
The EPA Deputy Administrator says the government has new questions and is now reexamining the use of treated sludge.
"At this point the agency has taken the position that the material is safe, but because there's significant uncertainty about that, we've got to revisit that question," Gilman said. "There's no doubt we have to be more sure about this than we are today."
At thousands of sewage treatment plants across the country separating the waste from the water is how sludge -- also called "biosolids"-- is created. For industry executive Bill Toffey there's absolutely no doubt about its safety.
"I have no concern with holding this in my hand," Toffey said. "We have not known of any situation where disease has been transmitted in biosolids."
The EPA will issue a new report on sludge early next year. Meanwhile some local governments are trying to ban it. And the Pennocks?
They're suing the state of Pennsylvania, the farmer across the street and the local sewage plant -- a crusade they say could save lives.