[permaculture] using municipal sewer sludge

bmn at iglou.com bmn at iglou.com
Mon Sep 27 17:30:43 EDT 2004

roxann wrote:

> have there been any studies done on pharmaceutical
> traces/accumulation in the sludge?  A frightening amount of drugs are
> eliminated from a city population's body each day into the sewer... I
> know the prozac is now beginning to show up in Texas's water supply,
> but I've never heard anything about how much of it or other drugs
> might also be in sewer sludge. Treatment plants are not set up to
> deal with this type of contamination.

That is correct...they are not...and I don't think you'll see that any 
time soon.  Unfortunately, with more pressure to "treat" sewage and sell 
the remaining sludge cake (processed into pellets or not), you're seeing 
a lot more in print about how safe it is for 
application--afterall...it's been "tested". True enough, they run some 
chems...however, federal standards do not address a myriad of chemical 
consituents...and testing for even a few is VERY cost prohibitive. 
Federal standards don't even address endochrine disruptors well, let 
alone have municipalities test for them.  To a permaculturist, sewage is 
simple human waste and maybe a little water.  Sewage in the standard 
sense is a toxic brew and should be treated as such until such time as 
there are valid alternatives to current practices.  Sadly, my former 
agency plans to sell its pellets to the public soon, and has been 
testing it in some areas for a few years.

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