September 8, 2008
My husband and I moved to Cadiz, Ohio eight years ago to a 178 acre farm. We cleared the farm and started to raise bison. In those eight years, we unknowingly have been exposed to Class B sludge. The odor at times was awful.
In the fall of 2006 and spring of 2007, we lost all but one of our 22 bison to a resitant parasite. We were doing all the proper programs. The vet was stymied. It took Ohio State University and Michigan State University , who autopsied one of the animals, to find the problem. We do not know where this parasite came from. We heard that neighbors up the road about two miles lost their goats like our bison died. We heard that 6-8 llamas died the same way . We heard that a cattle herd approximately five miles from us died like our bison. The neighbor to the west of us has been applying sludge for ten years. Our old neighbor to the east of us, who has been appllying Class B sludge for over 12 years, and our new neighbor to the east of us applied Class B sludge last year, 2007. At that time, we began to research sludge and found out that there were many problems with the land application process.
We experienced hundreds of vector flies from August 2007 to March of 2008. My husband had to have thyroid surgery this year due to a fast growing growth on his thyroid. My husband has several spots in his lungs that the pulmonary doctor says are caused by exposure to dust from the ground that is airborne. My husband also developed asthma and serious allergies in the past three years.
Our son, James, wife, Kristy, and two children live on our farm also. Our son developed joint pain, flu like symtoms, and some respiratory problems in November, 2007. His house had hundreds of vector flies as ours did. His wife experienced a rash of unknown origin. His six year old son. Duncan, has developed respiratory allergies.
The stench from the application of the sludge in 2007 was horrific. Sludge was spilled from the trucks onto the road in front of homes. The highway patrol was notified but nothing was done. We as neighbors were never notified of any application of sludge by the sludge company, Synagro, until it was applied. We were concerned about runoff from our neighbor on the east side into our east pasture. At the same time, we found eight dead deer on our property. We notified the Division of Wildlife, and were told that it probably was a virus that was killing the deer. No one from the Division of Wildlife came out to check to make sure.
Other neighbors were affected by flies, possible ground water contamination, and odor. We contacted the Ohio EPA. Mr. Dan Messerly came out and met with approximately ten neighbors, our family, and us. He took information and fly samples with him. The bottom line is nothing was done by the Ohio EPA.
We contacted. with the help of Nancy Holt and Maureen Reilly, Dr. James Smith, Federal EPA Laboratory in Cincinnati, Ohio and Rick Stevens, Biosolids Director, Federal EPA, and nothing was done. Nr. Stevens could have intervened and stopped the spreading of sludge here but chose not to.
The new neighbor's cattle, registered Black Angus, were grazing on the sludged ground three weeks after application. The signs that were posted about the application of Class B sludge were taken down after two months. Our new neighbor to the east of us has a hunting preserve and had hunters on his ground in November. Our neighbor on the west had Class B sludge brought in in February, 2008. He stockpiled it for two months until I contacted the Ohio EPA about the problem. The sludge was removed to another sight that has an active coal mine, before the Ohio EPA, Mr. Jacob Howdyshell and Mr. Dan Messerly, came to investigate. No neighbors were notified that the sludge was coming let alone being stored for two months. There were no signs posted to notify the public. Sludge was spilled on the roads in front of homes. The highway patrol was notified but nothing was done.
In April, 2008, more sludge was brought to the neighbors property to the west. The stench from the trucks was awful. I called Mr. Howdyshell at the Ohio EPA and was told that the sludge was Class A and that there was no odor with Class A sludge. I told Mr. Howdyshell that we had to close our windows because the odor was so bad. The odor remained after the sludge was stockpiled on our neighbors property.
I was told by Mr. Howdyshell that Class A sludge is safe and that the neighbor was going to apply it to hay and pasture fields. One of those fields is right next to our property. There is more than a 30 degree slope to all of his property. Run off is imminent. The neighbor, after receiving the Class A sludge, mixed it with water treatment plant residuals. Supposedly this was to help the PH. This Class A misture is still stockpiled on his property and it has been for four months. The sludge is in a field where the neighbors cattle are and his cattle have been seen eating it. There is a hospital and other public buildings in the path of the airborne pathogens from the Class A stockpiled sludge as well as homes and a stream that are below the property. It is our understanding that after approximately a month, Class A sludge begins to breakdown. This problem is still going on.
John and Karen Sticht, Cadiz