Spreading sewage sludge contaminated with PFAS on agricultural land is insane

To the Editor:
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s response to the release of the new Sierra Club report, “Sewage Sludge ‘Fertilizer’ Contaminates Farms With Toxic PFAS” proves why the report is important. The new report rejected the recent DEC draft long-range solid-waste-management plan’s recommendation to increase the spreading of dangerously contaminated sewage sludge on farmland….

When it tested sewage sludge in 2017 at eight of the many hundreds of sewage treatment plants in New York, the DEC found high levels of PFAS contaminants. The DEC did not notify sewage-treatment-plant operators of the dangers nor has the DEC tested the farmland where these toxins were spread, nor informed the landowner-farmers of the risks. The DEC is only beginning now to expand testing for PFAS chemicals in sewage sludge from treatment plants.

The reality is that the DEC does not know and chooses not to know how widespread and serious the health risks are to people, animals, plants, land, and water from the widespread dispersal of ubiquitous PFAS chemicals that bioaccumulate in animals and people.

I do not know what the solutions are to managing the huge amounts of sewage sludge other than to vastly reduce the toxicity of our economy, but spreading sewage sludge contaminated with PFAS chemicals and many other poisons on agricultural land is insane.

The DEC needs to closely pay attention to the emerging science worldwide on PFAS poisons, stop lying about how great the agency is, and recommend the state legislature ban the spreading of sewage sludge on farmland.

Tom Ellis


Editor’s note: See related story.

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