December 23, 2012 a few residents living in the little township of Pittsfield, Ohio find out that the "increased farming practice" excavation, tree removal, wetland destruction that has been going on behind their homes is really a pond that will hold 10 million gallons of Toxic Industrial Municipal Fecal Sewage Sludge. We were lied to.
The company, Quasar/French Creek BioEnergy, LLC has a contract with an Industrial sewage company to get rid of their waste. Quasar is notorious for sludging and has many violations, also for putting up smokescreens to farmers and people regarding what the sewage sludge really is. Quasar REFUSES to use the word 'sewage', instead, they will only use the word 'fertilizer' when speaking of their product that they call "Equate". Their Equate product comes from the sewage plant directly out of the anaerobic digester. No other processing. By Divine Intervention, we found out about the impending sludge. There were NO local Permits. The only Permit we found out about, is that the EPA rubber stamped a 'permit to install,' but there are 65 falsifications on the application for permit, basically making it a lie.
The EPA does not have the staffing to check on all the sludging practices/locations and has no real clue if information farmers are sending them is true or not. In this case, the coordinates on the application were wrong and a 'sweet' letter that accompanied the application, flirted with the Environmentalist to give Quasar the permit 'in a hurry', which EPA did. Also, the lagoon and destruction was done PRIOR to any permits whatsoever. The land owner destroyed 8 acres of High Quality Wetlands, and affected another 10 acres of wetlands, which at present are under stress from topsoil runoff because there were NO 'Best Management Practices' performed after the pit was dug. Our land is zoned Agricultural-Residential Compatible, and sewage sludge pit IS NOT ALLOWED per our local laws, but Quasar is suing us to bulldoze over our rules and regs, saying that sewage sludge is fertilizer and they have the perfect right to put their storage pit near us. Why not near them. Pittsfield doesn't even have any farmers that use this toxic sludge. So behind our homes is this 10 million gallon (now empty) pit, mounds of dirt and old tree stumps, precious wetland soil and many small standing ponds holding rain water, as well as increased runoff onto contiguous property owners.
As a community, we organized IMMEDIATELY! When I say immediately, I mean, we formed a group within 2 days and had notified everyone we could in the small community of 1500 people. We made signs, tee-shirts, buttons. About 300 citizens became very active. We held an immediate township meeting, immediately had a 'cease and desist order' on any forward movement of the lagoon, and we Appealed the Permit that we found the Notice put in the newspaper on Christmas Day. Everything about this company was a smokescreen and very sneaky. Our local farmers are all being duped by this company, telling them the sludge is healthy, fabulous for farms and NO health concerns whatsoever! As a health professional, I pretty much am aware of what goes down hospital drains, mortuary drains, and drains in general, including industrial.. As a farmer, I am perfectly aware that 'some' farmers would rather get rid of a cancerous cow or a cow with 'mad cow disease' by sending the meat to the butcher or discarding animal parts in their own cattle manure pits. This practice alone is the cause of continuous 'mad cow disease' a "PRION disease", which can be transferred to humans.
After the citizens found out about the news, especially those who live within 600 feet, we were devastated. Home values plummeted, plans for outdoor activities stopped, families and friends advised us they will NEVER come over to visit. My husband and I are outdoor people. When we found out, I felt like it was a 'death sentence'. No more hanging clothes outdoors, no more gardening, always fear of the sludge pit which is 14 feet upslope from us, would break or overflow with millions of gallons of sewage sludge ending up in our backyard and basements. The horrid, unlivable stench that the companies denies, literally ruins peoples lives. The stench even invades your house internally, so closing a window does not help. The stench saturates your clothing and YES, there are dust particles that cause disease and illness like E-coli infected skin lesions, E-coli related pneumonias, constant throat, eye and skin irritations. The elderly and the sick would surely become more sick or die, yet these companies DO NOT care, because they are making money! Quasar Company/ French Creek BioEnergy owns other lagoons, and has a recent EPA violation whereas, the sludge was brimming over the top, holes and cracks in the embankment and sludge slurry all over the ground surrounding the pit. Not to mention that the owner of French Creek BioEnergy, in order to give away his product to unsuspecting local farmers, is telling farmers that they can " come and go as they please and get their own sludge." This couldn't be further from the truth as a farmer needs to know the rules and regs to pump and deal with sludge. Do we think there would have been sludge all over the ground surrounding the pit, which, of course, after a rain, would end up on our property. Several neighboring homes have inground wells that were not on the local Well Inventory, so their wells would be useless, as they fear E coli and other bacteria.
As a nurse, I am very well aware of the CDC announcement that we are now in the 'post antibiotic era' with more and more bacteria becoming "R" resistant to antibiotics, which means in the not too far off future antibiotics will NOT work on infections. Antibiotics DO NOT work on some infections at present and the "R" dna strand is capable of passing on its Resistance coding to any bacteria, good and bad. This is a nightmare. The sludge with all the bacteria, chemicals and metals is being applied to our food and fodder cropfields where there is significant plant uptake of these chemicals. I am convinced as a nurse that we are seeing such an increase in Autism (for one example) because of sludging of our food. In conclusion, we lived in a nightmare situation for 4 months. We found out yesterday that Quasar is pulling out because of a 'breech in contract' with the property owner. I think it might have a little something to do with all the pressure we put on the company and the land owner, neither of which wants the bad publicity. But, we are not finished.
The stories and illnesses we uncovered during our discovery and research are disturbing. I am now aware that there are undeniable incredible loopholes that the Sewage Companies use to 'save money.' One for example is 'low temperatures on their digesters' which means, they are putting raw sewage on farmland. There is no oversight of these temperatures, unless EPA would happen to walk in and check. No one is overseeing the biosolid program. It's impossible. The EPA environmentalist cannot be in 3,000 locations at once to see that farmers and sludging companies are abiding by the rules. THEY ARE NOT abiding by the rules! in most cases. Another for instance, a farmer was noted sludging his land ALL WINTER. When our township investigated, there were NO soil samples taken, NO content samples of the sludge from the Industrial waste water treatment plant, and we found out that this North Ridgeville Ohio French Creek accepts illegal chemicals that have not been approved for acceptance. The illegal chemicals were already sludged on some farmers property, but there is NO way to track it, because there are NO records being kept.
An unbelievable story and a real eye-opener that every American should be aware of. We are being duped as American Citizens and the 'biosolids' program must be stopped. Sludge is in most store bought compost and has NO requirements for labelling, other than the word "bio" which most people think is a good thing. It's unconscionable that people actually are paid to take the sludge, then make money by putting it on our food source. Several people in our township are continuing on our quest at a National Level. The entire process has caused a significant amount of stress, as some residents experienced chest pain, anxiety, depression and even suicide over this issue.
The only thing I can say is the decision makers at the Water Federation, EPA and Congress should experience what ALL sludge related victims experience. Without a doubt, the program would be STOPPED if it involved them. The enclosed picture is just one image of the destroyed Wetlands, but you can see the standing water around the lagoon. All the water will be flooding the adjoining properties when it rains.