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York County Sludge Madness

Springettsburry Twp.,York County, has proposed spending $16,100. to promote their sewage sludge from over 60 permitted industrial users, sewage companies,septic haulers,etc. According to EPA's own Toxic Release Inventory (TRI) 1995 to 1997, discharges of poisonous industrial wastes into sewage treatment plants and into bodies of water is soaring! This TRI is only required for large manufacturing facilities. The EPA doesn't track small business or the little known loop hole that every business--large or small is allowed to dump 33 pounds per month of hazardous wastes into public sewers without warning. Springettsbury wants to promote their toxic product at civic organizations and in the York County public schools with videos to indoctrinate our children and filter into unsuspecting homes. Everyone should be interested in what Springettsbury,other townships,our county and state does if they know of anyone or have a member of their family that has cancer,diabetes,thyroid damage,children with learning disabilities (ADD,etc),liver damage (including liver spots found on the face and arms),asthma,heart problems, elevated cholesterol, fertility problems,etc. All of the above can be caused from toxins found in the average sludge that is dumped onto crop and farm land. Modern Landfill in Windsor township is permitted to expand,but will not hold Springettsbury's toxic sludge.Most of Pennsylvania's landfills are being filled with out of state and out of country toxic waste.DEP's 1999 budget is for Biosolids Education & Monitoring: $711,000 to support efforts by county conservation districts for biosolids education and monitoring of land application of biosolids-- $411,000 in new funding, $300,000 in redirected funding. If sludge is landfilled, the sewer authority is still liable. The magic wand of "beneficial use" takes that liability away. Springettsbury daily receives 10.276 million gallons of sewage, making 9.14 dry tons of sludge. Farmers are paid $20. per ton to rid the township of 1,939 tons of sludge. The remaining 892 tons of sludge sell at $2. a yard to Soil Rich,Worchester,PA who sells the sludge as compost, without labeling, statewide for private use and the Department of Transportation. Unsuspecting workers/ home owners are handling this brew.PA DEP only tracks the Springettsbury sludge to Soil Rich as Springettsbury is still liable.With no liability, "selling" the idea of sludge to York county farmers and families makes good business sense to the township,but what about moral obligation? York County is becoming inundated with sludge. Rep. John Barley's (Lancaster)family's farms--Star Rock--hauls sludge across the Susquahana River to dump onto land Star Rock owns or rents.For the past ten years the Barleys have been,sub dividing and sludging York County farmland only to received millions of dollars for that same land to be put into Farmland Preservation.York County Farmland Preservation never takes soil samples and there doesn't seem to be a limit as to how many Star Rock Farms are" preserved". Rep. John Barley has just introduced a bill in Harrisburg for money to be available for Farmland Preservation. It seems the money pit is endless in Pennsylvania to preserve our dumps and sewers! Earlier this year Rep. Barley helped make it possible for J.P. Mascaro & Sons from Manheim to secure a $95.7 million 15 year New York City Sludge contract.This toxic brew arrives in Mascaro's plant is mixed with pressure treated,leaded paint,etc. wood shavings,water and air to become compost that is sold unlabeled on the open market as potting soil, to landscapers,golf courses,etc. The European Union is refusing American food products because they are not labeled genetically engineered and/ or grown on sewage sludge. Spreading Springettsbury or anyone's sludge on farmland isn't a good idea for the health and welfare of York County or PA. 1. Many major US food companies not accept sludge food. 2..When the Dept. Of Agriculture (USDA)was pressured to change the organic standards to include genetically engineered food grown on sludge, never has so many letters, petitions,phone calls poured in forcing no change. Does Springettsbury or York Co. Commissioners want to put York County farmers out of the competive market?Does Governor Ridge want to put Pennsylvania farming out? 3. Against sludge Greenpeace states,"Dioxins are chemically stable in soils and sediments, half lives are measured in decades or centuries. These compounds become attracted to particles suspended in air or water. For this reason dioxins are often found in high concentrations in sediments, sludges and dusts." Dioxins are HIGHLY fat soluble. They avoid water, but find fish.. Dioxins land on plants, but end up in animals. 90% of the dioxin that people ingest is through consumption of meat and dairy products. Dioxin refers to 75 highly toxic chlorine chemicals that are primarily man made. It is the strongest, most common of highly toxic endocrine disruptors that causes genetic damage.The EPA states, "every human has an amount of dioxin in their body at or near the level at which some effect will occur. Many of the first effects are learning disorders." We are passing dioxins on to our children through mother's,cow's & soy milk,food and air.Effects occur at extremely low exposure levels---parts per quadrillion ---think of one/thousands of a grain of salt in an Olympic size swimming pool.A threshold level for dioxin and similar substances, has not been found at which some effect will not occur. Dioxin multiples the effect of other sludge toxins like formadehyde and heavy metals. 3. Dr Lewis(EPA&CDC Atlanta)states," There is nothing magical about sludge that prevents microorganisms in it from infecting people who breath it in as dust blowing from treated farmland, or come in contact with water running off from treated fields during a rainstorm, or who eat fruits and vegetables contaminated with soil from treated land." Other sewage treatments exhists and as responsible citizens and townships these treatments need to be used.Industries must stop crying cost to clean up their toxic wastes and become responsiable leaders.This is reminnessant of the way DDT was "sold" to the public and now all mother's milk is laced with it.
FMI: Sandy C. Smith 717-927-6412
BLO fecit 20010730 - -NOTE: received from Sandy Smith by Email, July, 2001: text of one of her articles written about 1999.