Letter to the Editor: Do Your Research on Biosolids

Posted

I taught high school chemistry, physics and general science for 34 years here in Lewis County. I’ve kept abreast of issues that affect our local quality of life. One that has recently come to our area is the spreading of human biowaste on our agricultural fields.

We spread cow manure, chicken manure, in fact all kinds of animal poop on our fields to fertilize them and replenish the soil. Biologically, it makes sense that our human waste should have the same benefit, or so I thought.

But, as in all subjects, looking at all the facts reveals a different story. Human waste is collected from city toilets by the sewer systems. If that was the end of the story, no problem. But we don’t separate industrial waste, medical wastes and street runoff from our basic human biological waste. It is all mixed together, the liquids removed and a solid biological material is left. That benign “poop” is now loaded with heavy metals, pharmaceutical wastes, chemical residues and whatever junk someone poured into a storm drain.

The “biowaste” or “biowaste sludge,” is now a witch’s brew of organic matter, chemicals and heavy metals. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has identified over 350 chemicals in biowaste samples, 61 of which the EPA classifies as “acutely hazardous, hazardous or priority pollutants,” yet only nine are required to be removed. This is not the stuff we want to spread on our fields and allow to enter our food chain.

Recently, a group of concerned biowaste opponents have organized. Please take the time to do a little research, then write or call your representative and ask for this practice to be stopped. Biowaste is hazardous to humans and wildlife.

 

Chuck Caley

Retired Toledo High School Science Teacher