Date :  Mon, 15 Oct 2001 08:21:16 -0400
Subj:    Fw: Letter to Congress
Date:   10/14/2001 3:57:23 PM Central Daylight Time
From: (Charlotte Hartman)

This letter on National Sludge Alliance letterhead was mailed on October 15th
to The House Science Committee, Senate and Public works Committee and the
Appropriations Committee.

 The National Sludge Alliance calls on Congress to halt the land application
of sewage sludge because current federal and state laws governing this
practice are not protective of human health, agricultural productivity, and
the environment.  We call on Congress to do all in its power to protect
public health and safety and the environment by halting the land disposal of
toxic industrial waste-laden sludge that now includes plutonium and other
atomic wastes on any American land-farmland, gravel pits, deforested areas or
stripped mines. EPA has not done a peer-reviewed study that includes farmers
and the general public who are being exposed to toxic sludge.  We call on
Congress to end the disposal of radioactive wastes to sewage treatment plants
anywhere in the country. In addition NSA calls for an end to taxpayer funding
for the National Biosolids Partnership a government backed PR group organized
to promote the dangerous practice of sludge land disposal, despite mounting
evidence that the policy is unsafe and despite widespread public opposition. 
The National Sludge Alliance - a coalition of grassroots organizations
opposed to spreading sludge on land and to any reference to it as
"fertilizer" - calls it an unpredictable hazardous waste that must always be
treated as a pollutant.

Under the leadership of Congressman Sensenbrenner, the full House Science
Committee hearings on March 22nd last year revealed a pattern of retaliation
and intimidation of whistleblower scientists within the EPA, a scientist from
Cornell, and from a California diary farmer. Further, the Inspector General's
Audit report entitled "Biosolids Management and Enforcement" said," the EPA
does not have an effective program for ensuring compliance with land
application (of sewage sludge) requirements of the Part 503 rules, issued by
the Office of Water. Accordingly, while EPA promotes the application, EPA
cannot assure the public that current land application practices are
protective of human health and the environment."

Specifically, NSA calls on Congress to prohibit land application of sludge
that contains pathogens and persistent pollutants, including radioactive
waste. These requests have become more urgent since the recent judicial
decision in a federal whistleblower case involving questions over whether
plutonium and other atomic wastes are safe fertilizer additives. Adrienne
Anderson, appointed to represent the sewage plant workers' safety and health
concerns on the Metro Water Reclamation District in Denver, Colorado was
awarded nearly half a million dollars in damages, including $150,000 in
punitive damages, among the largest punitive damage awards on record in
whistleblower case law, according to the National Whistleblower Center.

Judge David W. DiNardi of Boston concluded that the Metro Water Reclamation
District had engaged in at least a five-year campaign of illegal, retaliatory
and outrageous acts against Anderson one its own board members who had
publicly disclosed critically important information, vital to occupational
and public health.

The matter at issue involved the sewage district's plan - since enacted,
unfortunately, despite widespread public controversy and unanimous citizen
opposition in public comments of record - flushing a plutonium-contaminated
Superfund Site in Colorado, the Lowry Landfill, to public sewers to a
non-NRC-licensed facility whose workers are not even protected under OSHA,
for redistribution as "fertilizer" on farm land growing crops for human
consumption, and in bagged material marketed commercially as "MetroGroT", for
use on home gardens. This precedent setting permit to allow atomic bomb
wastes to be discharged to the sewage treatment plant will open the door for
disposal of radioactive wastes around the country in blatant disregard for
public health and safety.

NSA also urgently requests that the National Biosolids Partnership no longer
be funded with tax dollars. This coalition of the regulator (EPA) and the
regulated (WEF, AMSA) is using public funds to mount a massive public
relations campaign to change "public perception" regarding toxic sludge as a
suitable material for land disposal on agricultural lands. Instead, these
funds should be used to research and implement safe alternatives for the
management, treatment and disposal of toxic sewage sludge that do not
compromise human health, our environment or the safety of the nation's food
supply. The term "biosolids" is a public relation agency-coined term used to
linguistically detoxify sludge and convince the public that it is safe. Grant
money earmarked for hazardous waste cleanup was used by the partnership to
"debunk" rather than investigate cases of harm. 
     Metro Wastewater Reclamation
District (MWRD), under the leadership of Robert H. Hite, has waged an illegal
smear campaign against Anderson after she disclosed evidence of plutonium in
a waste stream MWRD had secretly agreed to accept, while subsequently issuing
a permit to discharge plutonium and other radioactive wastes into the public
sewer lines. Robert Hite heads both the NBP and Metro Wastewater in Colorado.
 Ironically, Metro Wastewater is one of the 27 plants chosen to illustrate
"good management practices".  Continued use of taxpayer money to support this
partnership run by a man whose own agency has engaged in illegal and
retaliatory acts against its own workers' representative concerned about the
safety of nuclear waste in toxic sewage sludge is a clear example of abuse of
the public trust. 

At a time when the safety of our food supplies is of paramount importance, we
ask our elected officials to stop the destruction of our valuable productive
farmland with a policy that allows toxic chemicals, heavy metals, pathogens,
and radioactive wastes as "fertilizer." Further, we request that Congress use
its legislative power and protect public health and safety from this
controversial EPA policy and discontinue public funding of the "National
Biosolids Partnership" in the public interest. 

We, the members of the National Sludge Alliance, thank you in advance for
your consideration of these requests and await your prompt reply.


 Charlotte Hartman, Coordinator


Enclosed:  Reference List/Scientific Papers and Reports


National Biosolids Partnership, statement of Robert H. Hite, Chairman at

Recommended Decision and Order, District Chief Judge David W. DiNardi, U.S.
Department of Labor Office of Administrative Law Judges, in Anderson v. Metro
Wastewater Reclamation District, Case No. 1997-SDW-7, September 18, 2001. 
The Department of Labor has now posted Chief District Judge David W.
DiNardi's September 18, 2001 ruling in the whistleblower case Anderson v
Metro Wastewater Reclamation District at its government website, for those
who wish to review the entire, 80-page decision.
     The matter at issue involved
the sewage district's plan - since enacted, unfortunately, despite widespread
public opposition- to flush a plutonium-contaminated Superfund Site in
Colorado, the Lowry Landfill, to public sewers to a non-NRC-licensed facility
whose workers are not even protected under OSHA, for redistribution as
"fertilizer" on farm land growing crops for human consumption, and in bagged
material marketed commercially as "MetroGroT", for use on home gardens.

For more information about MWRD's plan to turn plutonium-contaminated Lowry
Landfill Superfund Site wastes into "beneficial biosolids":

          "Dirty Secrets", 3-part Special Investigation by Pulitzer
Prize-winning journalist Eileen Welsome, at

 For general sludge information and links:

Sewage Sludge Homepage at VA Land Application of
Sludge the Uncensored Story by Henry J. Staudinger (biosolids or biocides?)

ReSource Institute for Low Entropy Systems in Boston

"Potential Health Effects of Odor from Animal Operations, Wastewater
Treatment and Recycling of Byproducts" Journal of Agromedicine, Volume 7,
Number 1 2000-ISSN: 1059-924X. In the conclusion, the report in the Journal
of Agromedicine says: "Our current state of knowledge clearly suggests that
it is possible for odorous emissions from. . . recycling of biosolids to have
an impact on physical health." ("Recycling of biosolids" refers to land
spreading of sewage sludge.) Some symptoms related to inhaling the vapor of
sewage sludge mentioned in this report are: eye, nose, and throat irritation,
headache, nausea, hoarseness, cough, nasal congestion, palpitations,
shortness of breath, stress, drowsiness, chest tightness, an alterations in
mood. For summary go to

David L. Lewis, microbial ecology, works as a research microbiologist for
US EPA Ecosystems Research Division, and is an adjunct scientist at the
University of Georgia. "Out of Control: Ten Case Studies in Regulatory
Abuse." Excerpt from 'Sludge Magic' at the EPA "according to scientists
working for EPA Office of Research & Development, the sludge rule on land
application of municipal wastes (40 CFR Part 503) promulgated in 1993 may be
the most scientifically unsound action ever taken by the agency. Rather than
being protective, the rule actually threatens public health and the

Cornell The Case For Caution Recommendations For Land application of Sewage
Sludges and An appraisal of the US EPA's Part 503 Sludge Rules by Ellen
Harrison, Murray B. McBride and David R.Bouldin, Working Paper August 1997
Revised February 1999.

         Joanne Marshall's statement to the EPA regarding the death of her
son from sludge poisoning

Enclosure (1)

Chartman Hartman, Coordinator
National Sludge Alliance
PO Box 130
Copake, NY 12516  
phone and fax (518) 329-2120

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