Treated sewage sludge as fertilizer? Well, if farmers and gardeners use cow and chicken manure then why not use human treated bio-solid waste as fertilizer? This was the general premise behind the formation of a Virginia General Assembly legislative panel to study and determine if treated sewage sludge was safe for use as fertilizer on farms. According to today’s Editorial in the Lynchburg News Advance, this was the intent but again it seems the General Assembly, in their infinite wisdom, didn’t provide enough funding for the study to answer questions about potential affects to water quality, the food chain, and potential human health problems.
Let’s just say, for argument’s sake, the Budget and Tax Hawks in the General Assembly have a “I should’ve had a V8” moment and fund a comprehensive study and it determines that human bio-solid waste is OK to use as fertilizer, then why do we need to import the remains of someone’s dinner? There are plenty of septic tanks in rural Virginia. Why couldn’t we just recycle our own “natural resources” to make our gardens grow?
Years ago when I was growing up in Southside Hampton Roads, the news covered a barge carrying trash from New York and New Jersey, sailing up and down the East Coast. They were trying to find a place that would take it. Virginia was one of those places they thought would take it. I don’t remember if Virginia did take it, but someone did. The prospect of another Garbage Barge coming from New York and New Jersey, this time in liquid form, and dumping it on Virginia when we don’t even know if it is safe to do is disconcerting. Residence of Campbell County should attend the June 11th DEQ public information meeting about the permit request. Until a comprehensive study is fully funded and completed to determine if treated sewage sludge is safe to use as fertilizer, not one drop should touch Virginia Soil.
Photo by: http://www.flicker.com/photo/brownpau