May 2001 update - compiled by Helane Shields - prepared for WWW by ESRA


To the reader:

The information about sludge victims in this booklet is just the tip of the iceberg. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has refused all FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests about complaints of odors and/or harm to human health, pets, farm animals, wildlife, fish, land, surface and ground water, etc. from the landspreading of sewage sludge.

On October 30, 1997, Dr. Alan Rubin, author of the 40 CFR Part 503 sludge rules, called me on the telephone in response to my Freedom of Information Request (FOIA) and told me EPA lawyers said he could charge me $ 42,000 for release of this information. He said $ 1,500 of that amount would be for Xeroxing 10,000 pages at 15 cents a page. ,

IF, as the EPA and waste industry claim, there are "no sludge victims" -- what is contained in those 10,000 pages?

Dr. Rubin told me "freedom of information" doesn't mean "free" information. He said providing me with this information at no charge would be a misuse of taxpayer funds. I asked about EPA giving taxpayer funds to the WEF (Water Environment Federation - whose members produce and landspread the sludge) to debunk and discredit sludge victims -- wasn't that a misuse of public money? Dr. Rubin would not answer that question..

Dr. Rubin told me he was aware of "thousands of allegations" (regarding sludge problems).

I asked how EPA handled these allegations? He said EPA "responded" to sludge complaints. (A few months later I filed another FOIA request asking for copies of those EPA "responses". Again, I got nothing.)

On November 5, 1997, 1 got a call from Linda Person of Washington, DC, EPA FOIA office. She told me Dr. Rubin was "on edge" because I had filed my FOIA requests with EACH of the 1O EPA Regional offices. She said they wanted to coordinate the reply from "headquarters" (Washington, DC) and that the regional offices are "panicking" because they have "massive amounts of records."

I received little to no information about sludge complaints from EPA in response to those FOIA requests.

On November 19, 1998, Dr. Rubin testified before the N. H. House Environment and Agriculture Committee. In response to questions from committee members as to possible adverse effects from landspreading sludge, Dr. Rubin stated:

"We get reports that come in to us, either email, fax, written, phone calls, news reports, that claim there are impacts on human health (and) the environment when biosolids are applied."

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