by: Jonathan Benson
(NaturalNews) It is one of the latest forms of "greenwashing" that has many thinking they are "recycling" solid waste, but the practice of dumping biosolids (which is really just concentrated human waste) on farm fields is a serious environmental detriment.
NBC Philadelphia reports that local residents in Lehigh County, located in eastern Pennsylvania, have been raising an issue with local and state authorities about the use of "granulite," a type of sewage sludge fertilizer made from human waste, on nearby farm fields. The so-called fertilizer has reportedly contaminated groundwater and left a disgusting mess all around town.
"There's a huge difference between using fertilizer and using human feces that's been treated with different chemicals," said local resident Bill Schaffhouser to NBC Philadelphia. "This stuff will end up in the food and meat they eat, the milk they drink, this is a real issue."
By renaming human waste as "biosolids fertilizer," wastewater treatment facilities, public utilities and farm supply companies that sell them apparently think it is safe to apply to farm crops. But in Pennsylvania, residents see it as sewage sludge that is polluting their water supplies, yards, creeks, and neighborhoods.
Back in 2010, the Food Rights Network (FRN) conducted tests on "organic biosolids compost" that the city of San Francisco was distributing to local residents as natural fertilizer. The "compost" was made of sewage sludge, and was determined to contain "appreciable concentrations" of polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE) flame retardants; triclosan, a toxic antibacterial agent; and nonylphenol detergent breakdown components; as well as other chemical.
Turning sewage sludge into "fertilizer" may help keep less waste from being dumped in other places, but now much of it is being dumped on the food supply. Human waste, of course, is far different from animal manure gathered on small-scale farms, and applied in small quantities to crops — the former is a toxic biohazard, while the latter is how crops have been fertilized for centuries.
"It's on the streets, it's all through our neighbor's yard, and it's supposed to be regulated but who's regulating it?" asked Schaffhouser. "We've got the chemicals going into the ground, got human feces going into ground (sic) none of it's normal, none of it's natural."