In reviewing Synagro's "White Paper," titled "Analysis of David Lewisí Theories Regarding Biosolids," it is my opinion the author of the document has little knowledge of his own company's operations. Contained in Section VII, B pg. 15; "Tony Behun Was Not Exposed to Lime-Stabilized Biosolids and His Infection Could Have Resulted From Numerous Sources" the author claims "The Pennsylvania death that Dr. Lewis attributes to biosolids underscores his sloppiness with basic facts and sensationalist approach to scientific issues." "Dr. Lewis's wild speculation in the Behun death is demonstrated by his theory that lime in the biosolids acted as a caustic agent to open the wound on Tony's skin, which allowed for the dermal transmission of a staphylococcus infection. (Cit. 115.) Dr. Lewis apparently has never investigated the biosolids that Tony Behun allegedly drove across, which were anaerobically digested biosolids that contain no lime."
It appears the author of the "White Papers" has never investigated his own company's use of biosolids on mine reclamation sites. Whether the sludge was "anaerobically digested biosolids that contain no lime" means nothing. If the author would have taken the time to educate himself on the requirements for land applying sludge to mine reclamation sites, he would have discovered that high acidic, low pH soil must be treated heavy with lime prior to land application. Almost all disturbed, rocky mine soils have low pH, therefore tons of lime, per acre, are needed to raise the pH to the required 6.0 pH. Only after the pH has risen to the acceptable range, by using lime, can sludge be land applied. Another important factor; while attempting to incorporate the sludge into the rocky mine soil, the lime is mixed with the sludge and brought back to the surface. These are the correct and basic facts the author of the "White Paper" failed to recognize.
Using the author's own company's permit application for Utilization of Sludge on Pennsylvania Mine Surfaces, I found in Module 27 on page 2; "The soil sample to be analyzed for the above list will be a composite sample of the 10 - 15 acre blocks as shown on the Form 4 map. These 10 - 15 acre blocks will be analyzed for pH and lime requirements so that agricultural lime can be added in sufficient quantities to raise the pH to 6.0. All soil sampling will be in accordance with "Interim Guidelines for the Use of Sewage Sludge for Agricultural Utilization or Land Reclamation" "Based on the analytical testing, sufficient quantities of lime will be applied to the soil to raise the pH to 6.0"
Was Tony exposed to lime while he rode his motorcycle across a mine site, freshly applied with Class B "anaerobically digested" Sludge? The answer is "Yes" the probability is extremely high, especially considering sufficient quantities of lime was applied and also because of Tony's direct contact.
It appears the author had also relied upon unreliable information taken from a news article to make the assumption: "No one appears to know for sure whether he (Tony) rode across the site, since he was alone at the time. (Cit. 114.)" If the author would have questioned Tony's mother directly, he would have discovered there is no question that Tony was covered head to toe with sludge. Although Tony's mother did not ride through the sludge site, as Tony did, she was with him the entire time, sitting, watching him from her own all terrain vehicle (ATV). The true facts are; Tony rode through freshly applied sludge that was land applied at the high rate of 330 tons per acre, literally ankle deep and he tragically lost his life just eight days later.
I suggest before anyone questions Dr. Lewis's work, they get the correct information and "basic facts" straight. For the author of the "White Paper," I suggest that he review Joe Cocalis's recent testimony, which puts Tony's death into true prospective.
Testimony of Joseph C. Cocalis, P.E., DEE, CIH CAPT, U.S. Public Health Service (Retired) Prepared for the House Democratic Policy Committee Hearing on the application of sewage sludge on land in Pennsylvania. http://22.214.171.124/cgi-bin/linkrd?_lang=EN&lah=43706776b5321515e397879f53dffdf8&lat=1032027118&hm___action=http%3a%2f%2fmembers%2eaol%2ecom%2fLewisDaveL%2fCocalis%2ehtm
The DEP Investigation into Tony Behunís Death and Appearances of Impropriety
From previous testimony I assume
you are all aware of the DEP investigation into Tony Behunís
The investigative report concluded that:
on the results of its investigation, the Department of Environmental
Protection has found
no medical or scientific evidence that Tony Behun's death was linked to any contact with the
biosolids on the Al Hamilton Mountain Top mine site."
1. For the record, It is my opinion that the above
conclusion is misleading and based on material omissions. I
recommend a more plausible alternate conclusion:
cannot prove or disprove causality in the Tony Behun case; however,
Tony Behun was
unaware of the high degree of health risk associated with the activity he was engaged in -- riding a
3-wheeler through freshly applied biosolids. The possibility that he contacted a fatal infection
cannot be ruled out; therefore the prudent response is to err on the side of protection of the public
through implementation of a public awareness campaign to prevent high-exposure, high-risk
activities such as motorcycling through Class B application sites.
2. DEPís failure to validate the "bee sting" prior
to issuance of the first draft of the report created an
appearance of bias and impropriety.
3. A basis for DEPís misleading conclusion is a
statement that I believe to be untrue: "that the death had as
probable underlying cause a pathogen which is not known to be found in biosolids." Note: DEP/DOH correctly
states that the pathogen is a ubiquitous one, and there exist any number of potential routes of transmission
exist through which Tony Behun may have been exposed. The problem is that they acknowledge its existence
everywhere but in biosolids.
4. DEP failure to address the relative health risk
associated with motorcycling through freshly applied
creates another appearance of impropriety. DEP quoted me as being reluctant to speak. I guess the DEP
investigators failed to report a statement that I made several times that riding a motorcycle through freshly
applied biosolids constitutes a high-risk activity that clearly should be prohibited, and that the best way to
assess the likelihood of biosolids as being the underlying cause of his death was to assess the risk of
motorcycling relative to other exposures (an Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)
Health Risk Assessment was suggested).
5. S. Aureus is often a secondary infection.
DEP/DOH failed to report that the S. Aureus infections are
secondary to other infections or chemical assaults from agents found in freshly applied biosolids. This
hypothesis leaves major technical questions as to the validity of the DEP report.
6. Reference to the DEP sample results are
misleading because of the failure to discuss limitations due
time lag are make them somewhat meaningless.
7. Reference to the NIOSH sample results is
inappropriate and misleading, because the time lag renders
To quash any appearances of impropriety and
reestablish public confidence in the integrity of the
of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, I call for an independent investigation of Tony Behunís death that
follows recognized scientific principles with the realization that the lives, health, and well-being of children like
Tony Behun may depend upon their professional judgment and that they are obligated to protect the health and
well-being of people.
For more information regarding DEP's investigation into Tony
Behun's death and the
UMWA's NIOSH HHE, please visit:
NOTE INSERTED BY BLO: the following links are inoperative but Tony Behun's story starts on this page
Select part Q - OHIO, pp 179/184, OREGON, pp 185/7, PENNSYLVANIA, pp181/191 -
starting on page 191. http://126.96.36.199/cgi-bin/linkrd?_lang=EN&lah=1be6e7e17b6f459db39390403644789f&lat=1032027118&hm___action=http%3a%2f%2fPA_Sludge%2etripod%2ecom%2fSludgeVictims%2fSV%2d166_PA%2ehtml
Friend of Tony Behun's family
FROM:AKester, Greg B@<KesteG@mail01.dnr. state.wi.us>
09/24/01 11:08 AM
TO: Alan Rubin/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, Alan Hais/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, Alia Roufaeal/R2/USEPA/US@EPA, Ann Carkhuff/R3/USEPA/US@EPA, Ash Sajjad/R5/USEPA/US@EPA, Robert Bastian/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, Bob Brobst/P2/R8/USEPA/US@EPA, Cynthia Sans/WWPD/R7/USEPA/US@EPA, Denise Hamilton/R6/USEPA/US@EPA, Dick Hetherington/R10/USEPA/US@EPA, Charles Gross/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, Alfred Lindsey/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, James Home/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, Jim Ryan/C1/USEPA/US@EPA,James Smith/C1/USEPA/US@EPA, John Colletti/R5/USEPA/US@EPA, John Dombrowski/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, John Dunn/WWPD/R7/USEPA/US@EPA, John Walker/DC/USEPA/US@EPA, Lauren Fondahl/R9/USEPA/US@EPA, Madolyn Dominy/R4/USEPA/US@EPA, Mark Meckes/C1/USEPA/US@EPA, Thelma Murphy/R1/USEPA/US@EPA
Subject: FW: Dr. David Lewis
FYI - This paper presents many of the issues raised by Dr. Lewis in the New Hampshire case and provides compelling refutations. It is written by Bob O'Dette of Synagro. If any of you have comments or disagree with any of this, I would appreciate hearing your thoughts.
Thanks - Greg