ZERO WASTE is the recycling of all materials back into nature or the marketplace in a manner that protects human health and the environment.





Oct. 7, 1999: EPA looks away from possible health threat


  • National Sludge Alliance Fact Sheets
  • Sewage Sludge Homepage
  • GreenBeat! TOC
  • Safe Soil - Björn Gillberg, Scientist, Miljöcentrum and environment/consumer advocate. The following excerpts are from the editorial magazine Environment and the Future (Miljö och Framtid), No. 6,1996 - The farm turned waste dump:

    "Conventional [chemical] phosphate and nitrogen fertilizers contain, in fact, lower levels of heavy metals [than are found in sludge] and none of modern industrial society's synthetic chemicals."

    "The rules set by SNV (the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency) regulate how much of the nitrogen and phosphorous can be provided through sludge. The agency has also determined the maximum levels of lead, cadmium, copper, chromium, mercury, nickel and zinc allowed in sludge [to be land applied]. There are also maximum levels of these metals allowed for agricultural soils. If these levels are exceeded, sludge may not be applied to that soil. [However] there are no regulated maximum levels for synthetic or organic chemicals such as solvents, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, disinfecting chemicals, or hormone mimicking chemicals. In other words, it has been and still is permitted to spread sludge on farmland containing unlimited levels of DDT, PCB, phenols, chlorine phenols, dioxins, etc. Many of these compounds are taken up by growing plants and will become part of our food. Furthermore, a grazing cow ingests on average about two pounds of soil per day!" [And that ingested soil would, of course, contain sludge.]

A Letter on SLUDGE from Professor David Pimentel, Ecology and Agricultural Sciences, Cornell University. "Although sludge might be viewed as a beneficial resource with valuable nutrients, the risks of applying the sludge to agricultural lands has too many risks for the available benefits."

Sludge Information /Resources List Working Paper, March, 1999
Charlotte Hartman, National Sludge Alliance

  • Informative site that warns about certain "fertilizers": Florida
  • Fear in the Fields, Duff Wilson, Seattle Times special series, July
    1997; PO Box 1926, Seattle, WA 98111; by mail $1; or
  • Sludge Information Web Sites   Center for Health,
    Environment & Justice, also CCHW.
  •  The Hawaii Environment & Health News
  •  Antelope Valley, CA
  •  Sweden
  •  Fort Devens, MA
  •  ReSource Institute for Low Entropy Systems in
    Environmental Working Group
  •  Rachel's Newsletters
    Pennsylvania Environmental Network
  • General Accounting Office (GAO) Reports ordered by phone (202) 312-6000. The first issue is free. 
    • Nuclear Regulation: Action Needed to Control Radioactive Contamination
      at Sewage Treatment Plants (May 1994, GOA/RECED-94-133)
    • Environmental Protection Interim Actions to Better Control Cement Kiln
      Dust (August, 1995, GAO/RECED 95-192)
    • EPA/Allegations by Employees (whistleblowers) GAO/RCED-99-61R, January, 1999 released 3/1/99
  • 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  To order write to Cornell Waste
    Management Institute, 100Rice Hall, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
    14853-3601. Call (607) 255-1187  
    Web site 
  • The Science of the Unpleasant: Risk Assessment and Urban Sludge  Panel
    Presentation at the American Assoc. for the Advancement of Science,
    February 14, 1998 (also available from Cornell)
  • Methyl Mercury Contamination and Emission to the Atmosphere from Soil
    Amended with Municipal Sewage Sludge, Anthony Carpi, toxicology, Journal
    Environ. Quality 26:1650-1655 (1997)  Genetic Analysis of Drinking Water
    Pathogens on web
  • Genetic Polymorphism among Cryptosporidium Parvum Isolates: Evidence of
    Two Distinct Human Transmission Cycles, CDC Emerging Infectious Diseases
    Vol. 3 NO 4, 1997 to order (404) 639-3311
    Web  Comment:  This
    report suggests that the Milwaukee outbreak was from sewage overflows
    and inadequate treatment
  • Emerging Infectious Diseases New Reemerging and Drug Resistant Diseases
    Role of the Sanitarian Ralph J. Torch, US Department of Health and Human
    Service presented at Fourth World Congress on Environ. Health May 27-31,
    1996  http://atsdr
  • Enumerating Salmonella in biosolids for compliance with pathogen
    regulations, William A. Yanko et. al, Water Environment Research , Vol.
    67, No 3, 1995
  • Recycling Human Waste: fertile Ground or Toxic Legacy? By Gary Gardener,
    World Watch Magazine Jan/Feb 1998 address Worldwatch Institute, 1776
    Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036
  • University of Pittsburgh laboratory research has concluded that HIV risk
    does exist for wastewater workers because it remains stable for up to 12
    hours. CDC contends that the study does not reflect how HIV behaves in
    the natural environment.  Because HIV is fatal, even a small risk is a
    problem and health experts recommend employees be educated about the
    dangers and trained to minimize risk of workplace exposure.  For
    information on workplace pathogens CDC (404) 639-2239 OSHA 800-356-4674
    (Industrial Wastewater Jan/Feb 1998)
  • THE WORKBOOK, Southwest Research and Information Center, PO Box 4524,
    105 Stanford SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106; Tel  (505) 346-1455; Fax (505)
    346-1459  Activists search for answers about sludge and its impact on
    our food supply, Summer, 1998  (Copies $3.50 )
  • Rachel's Environmental & Health Weekly sludge related issues #560, #561,
    #564 # 636 
    Tel (410) 263-1584  (web site listed above)
  • Toxic Sludge is Good for You! by John Stauber and Sheldon Rampton  to
    order (608) 238-2236 Chapter 8, the Sludge Hits the Fan is available on
  • Dying from Dioxin by Lois Gibbs and CHEJ (703) 237-2249
    Living Downstream by Sandra Stiengraber (ecologist looks at cancer and
    the environment)
  • Our Stolen Future by Theo Colburn, Dianne Dumanoski, John Peterson
    Meyers (available at bookstores)
  • Endocrine disrupter video cassette series for loan. Contact your local
    library Interlibrary Loan Dept. Request should be made to Librarian
    World Wildlife Fund, 1250 24th St. NW, Washington, DC 20037-1175 email (loans cannot be made to individuals)
  • National Research Council Use of Reclaimed Water and Sludge in Food Crop
    Telephone order (800) 624-6242
  • New York Health Department Study of Composting site in Islip,
    (Bioaresols) Telephone order (800) 438-1138
  • 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 environment."
  • Land farming Sludge Fact Pack, CHEJ, PO Box 6806, Falls Church, VA 22040
    Tel (703) 237-2249 ($7.00)
  • Impact of Sludge Disposal on Human Health and the Food Chain, Citizens'
    Environmental Coalition, 33Central Ave., Albany, NY 12210  (518)
    462-5527 ($10)
  • State by State data on drinking water systems with health violations,
    toxic chemical discharges directly to water, and more
  • For researched company background information EBIC (814) 867-7341 email