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SLUDGE VICTIMS

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

SLUDGE VICTIMS -

THE JERKINS FAMILY, LAUREL HILLS, FLORIDA

In July 1996, Teresa Hansen, a registered nurse, wrote to the Secretary of the Dept. of Environment, Florida, with a copy of the letter to Carol Browner, EPA Administrator, Washington, DC, detailing the sludge nightmare being suffered by her daughter and grandchildren from a neighboring sludge operation..

Mrs. Hansen sent a video to Al Rubin, EPA Office of Water, with copies to other officials, documenting some of the violations:

* Cattle grazing while the sludge was being spread
* Improper terracing, allowing sludge run-off into adjacent stream which empties into the "Yellow River" State Recreational area.

* Application of sludge right up to her daughter's fence line

* Violation of Florida law which requires incorporation of sludge into the soil.

Mrs. Hansen's letter told of residents in the area of sludge stockpiles dumped on clear-cut land suffering from nausea, weight loss, and depression over the fact that no-one from state or federal environmental agencies would help them. The odors seeped into their homes and clothing, forcing them to move out of their houses for days at a time to escape the stench.

The Jerkins fami1y did not realize the sludge was toxic. The family dog was not leashed and would roll in the sludged fields. The dog lost urinary tract control and tests found the dog with extremely high levels of protein in her system, indicating the liver and kidneys were no longer able to filter the poisons from her body.

Soil samples taken by Mrs. Hansen's daughter, Darcy Jerkins, from their front drive and in front of their porch revealed total cotiform/fecal coliform levels >160,000 MPN coliform/100 mL. (The maximum allowed for safe swimming inFlorida is <2400/100 mL.) Their propertywas saturated with fecal coliform from the adjacent sludge spreading operation.

The Jerkins children, ages 2 and 7 were both infected with the intestinal parasite BLASTOCYSTITIS HOMINIS -- WHICH ORIGINATES FROM HUMAN FECES. The Jerkins family was forced to abandon their $500,000 home and move into a mobile home.

Appeals to state and federal agencies for help were met with defense of the sludge spreading activities and total indifference to the suffering of the victims.

(1) EPA Reg. 4 office in Atlanta, and the EPA Wash. DC headquarters - (AL RUBIN)--both DENY ANY KNOWLEDGE OF THIS CASE EVEN THOUGH WE HAVE A COPY OF THE LETTER WRITTEN TO THEM, and even though Rubin was sent a copy of the video showing the violations.

(2) This case was resolved by the victim receiving a settlement from the sludge spreader, and the whole family was forced to sign a GAG ORDER barring them from discussing this sludge incident or sewage sludge publicly ever again.

Teresa Hansen, Rt. 1, Box 326, Laurel Hill, Florida 32567 (904)652-4795
Darcy Jerkins, 4129 Millside Rd, Laurel Hill, Florida 32567

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