Sludge News

Sludge Newsroom and Press Releases


News about community and public health concerns, environmental degradation, and other adverse effects of the disposal of sewage sludge on land remain in the press. Please refer to the web page of United Sludge-Free Alliance for more up-to-date information.


Bacteria Making Meds in Wastewater Outflows. Wastewater treatment can increase pharmaceutical drug concentrations, Environmental Health News, May 13, 2015, Brian Bienkowski,



Charlotte’s sludge plan brews rural rebellion, Bruce Henderson,, November 14, 2014


A Rising Tide of Contaminants, Deborah Blum, New York Times, September 25, 2014


How EPA Faked the Entire Science of Sewage Sludge Safety: A Whistleblower’s Story, Independent Science News, June 9, 2014


Farm sludge contaminates soil with drugs, other chemicals, Environmental Health News, May 12, 2014


Under Pressure, Whole Foods Agrees to Stop Selling Produce Grown in Sewage Sludge, Rebekah Wilce, PR Watch, January 15, 2014


Sewage Sludge: A Pool of Pathogens, John Rehill, The Bradenton Times, November 16, 2013


Trade Group Offers Free Sewage Sludge "Compost" to Community Gardens in "Million Tomato Campaign" for Food Banks, Rebekah Wilce, PR Watch, May 9, 2013


David Suzuki Foundation won’t support Lystek operation, February 1, 2012


3M Turns Tables on Met Council in Mississippi River Pollution Lawsuit, Bob Shaw,, January 11, 2012


Is Your Organic Compost Really Sewage Sludge? Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, April 27, 2011


Sewage Sludge, Celebrities, and School Gardens. Mitch Anderson, SFGate, April 25, 2011

You Tube: BioCycle Sludge is Good for You. April 12, 2011


Would You Like A Bit of Heavy Metal With That? Toby Wollin, Firedoglake, April 12, 2011


Response to Sludge Proponent Sally Brown's False and Defamatory Charge Calling Food Rights Network "Ecoterrorists", April 12, 2011


Food Chain Breach: Radioactive Sludge Used for Fertilizer on Farms. Stuart Smith, April 12, 2011


Sludge not 'suitable' for worms. Matthew Haggart, Otago Times, March 26, 2011


Anti-Sludge Ordinance Begins Immediately. Bakersfield News, January 18, 2011


Sludge Suit Sent to Pasture - For Now. James Burger and Gretchen Wenner,, November 9, 2010


Chemicals survive waste treatment to be rleased into the environment: study, Bob Weber, Winnipeg Free Press, October 14, 2010


Test results of city sludge don't satisfy critics, Alison Hawkes, SF Public Press/Way Out West, August 18, 2010


Study Finds Contaminants in SF Free Compost, CBS5 (San Francisco), August 10, 2010


Anti-sewage compost crusader to speak at City Hall, John Upton, San Francsico Examiner, August 8, 2010


San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Fails to Provide Comprehensive Testing of Sewage Sludge Compost, the Center for Food Safety, August 5, 2010


CIENT adds new international nano-safety initiative, Duke Engineering News, Richard Merritt, July 28, 2010, research on nanoparticles in sewage sludge,


Sludge, a free fertilizer for farmers, can pose health and environmental risks. Rebekah L. Cowell,, July 28, 2010


City's compost passes test, San Francisco Examiner, John Upton, July 28, 2010 (Note: Kellogg Nitrohumus is a sludge-derived fertilizer.)


Woman's complaint sparks probe into compost containing sewage sludge, Carroll County Times, Carrie Ann Knauer, July 21, 2010


Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Industry Bedded Alice Waters. John Stauber, Center for Media and Democracy, July 9, 2010


Some "compost" sold at garden centers or other outlets is downright nasty for your garden. Leah Zerbe, June 16, 2010,


City of LA, Kern County Battle Over Human Waste Disposal, Louis Sahagun, June 7, 2010, LA Times


Kern wins again as U.S. Supreme Court refuses to hear sludge case, James Burger, June 1, 2010,

Oh Alice, Don't Let Them Do This to You, Jill Richardson, La Vida Locavore, April 12, 2010

What San Francisco Found in Their Own Sludge, Jill Richardson, La Vida Locavore, April 8, 2010

US chef Alice Waters criticised over sewage fertiliser: Top US healthy-eating chef Alice Waters attacked for supporting fertiliser made of sewage that activists say contains toxins, Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guradian, April 1, 2010


Counties ask high court to rule on Kern County's human waste ban, Louis Sahagun, LA Times, March 18, 2010


Shit show: What has the SFPUC has been dumping in city gardens? Brady Welch, San Francisco Bay Guardian, March 23, 2010


San Francisco Gives Away Organic Toxic Sludge. Ian Fortely, March 9, 2010, Asylum.


Protesters rally against sewage sludge. Tom Joyce, York Daily Record, March 9, 2010


Organic food advocates protest San Francisco's giveaways of compost to community gardeners. Evelyn Nieves, Associated Press, LA Times, March 5, 2010,0,1912385.story


The City's free compost causes stink. John Upton, San Francisco Examiner, March 5, 2010


Claim: San Francisco Giving Gardeners Toxic Sludge. Evelyn Nieves, Associated Press, Boston Globe, March 5, 2010



Claim: San Francisco Giving Gardeners Toxic Sludge. Evelyn Nieves, Associated Press, New York Times, March 5, 2010


Outrage in San Francisco: City Gives Residents 'Organic' Compost Containing Toxic Sewage Sludge. Jill Richardson, Alternet, March 4, 2010


A Backlash After San Francisco Labels Sewage Sludge "Organic". Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, March 4, 2010


What SF calls compost, activists call 'toxic sludge'. Carolyn Tyler, San Francisco News, March 4, 2010


Photo Gallery: Activists Praise Poop, Deliver Dirt to Mayor's Office. SF Appeal, March 4, 2010

San Francisco's Channel 5 television's investigative reporter Anna Werner looks at the City's toxic sludge giveaway program, March 3, 2010


Concern over SF 'compost' made from sewage sludge. Anna Werner, CBS 5, March 4, 2010


There's a reason towns ban sludge spreading. Charlie Reid, Foster's Daily Democrat, February 21, 2010


Belmont, New Hampshire, puts the banning of sludge on town warrant. Harrison Haas, Laconia Citizen, January 12, 2010


Fed to test 200 for DU toxic waste. Eric Fleishauer, The Decatur Daily (Alabama), December 2, 2009


Free Compost -- Or Toxic Sludge? Barry Estabrook, Atlantic Monthly Food Blog, December 1, 2009


Nonprofit calls PUC's compost toxic sludge. Heather Knight, San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2009


Did Sewage Sludge Lace the White House Veggie Garden With Lead? Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, June 17, 2009


Farmers perplexed over free fertilizer’s health issues. Laura Bauer, Donald Bradley and Karen Dillon, Kansas City Star, April 24, 2009


Lawsuit Links Chemical To Cameron Tumors
Brockovich Report Says Hexavalent Chromium Used As Fertilizer, KMBC-TV, April 23, 2009

Biosolids concerns bubble to surface
Neighbors say sewage sludge spread on fields may be making them sick, Chapel Hill News, April 19, 2009, Mark Schultz


Sewage sludge stinks, but is it dangerous? Editorial, Mobile Press Register, September 19, 2008


Is sewage sludge, Angelos’s next asbestos? Mike Silvestri, Baltimore Examiner, September 14, 2008

Inspections are up, but is sludge safe? Tests for 9 metals done before shipments
The farm fertilizer contains traces of toxic chemicals, studies find, Patrick Lynch, Daily Press, September 15, 2008,0,6370869.story


Group to Sue EPA Over Sewage Sludge, Jasmin Melvin, Reuters, September 12, 2008


Sludge Sprayed on Grand Bay Fields Contains Pollutants, Ben Raines, Mobile Press-Register, September 12, 2008


Senate Cancels Hearing on Georgia Sludge Findings, Ben Evans, Associated Press, September 12, 2008 


Mobile Sludge Fight Has National Attention, Ben Raines, Mobile Press-Register, September 11, 2008


Congress to Address Dumping of Sewage Sludge, Jasmin Melvin, Reuters, September 10, 2008


Group Seeks Community Input for National Sludge Fight, Stacey Shepard, The Bakersfield Californian, September 8, 2008


Shrewsbury Township passes sludge ordinance, September 4, 2008, Sara Miller, The York Dispatch


Grand Bay residents upset that farmland is fertilized with processed sewage, August 31, 2008, Ben Raines, Mobile Press-Register, Alabama


Reports that sludge from sewage plants is routinely used to fertilise edible crops have caused outrage. Is this simply a prudent use of so-called 'biosolids' or a grave threat to our health? August 29, 2008, Rose George, The Guardian


Ex-EPA scientist fights agency over sewage sludge, Greg Bluestein, Associated Press, August 9, 2008


Biosolids a ‘disaster in waiting’
Carola Vyhnak, The Independent, July 17, 2008

The Synagro Sludge Deal
Federal grand jury probes possible payoffs in Synagro sludge deal
Detroit Free Press, Zachary Gorchow, July 17, 2008

Prions can survive sewage treatment, UW-Madison study says, Journal Sentinal,
By Elie Dolgin, July 13, 2008


Soiled Land (four part series in the Toronto Star)
Part I. Is sewage fertilizer safe?
Worries grow over 'stew' of chemicals spread on farmland
Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 12, 2008

Part II. Farmers split over safety
Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 13, 2008

They started to become ill when a farmer spread sludge on his fields, then their wells became contaminated, Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 13, 2008

Oakville family files suit over treated sewage lagoon near their home
Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 13, 2008

Part III. When sludge disposal rules are broken
Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 14, 2008

Federal workplace safety agency recognizes sewage sludge disease
Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 14, 2008

Part IV. Food firms shun sludge use,
Carola Vyhnak, The Toronto Star, July 15, 2008

Piling It High May 21, 2008, by Joel Bliefuss, In These Times


"No one knows what makes up sewage sludge," May 11, 2008, by Kevin S. Vineys, Associated Press


NAACP officials continue probe into sludge study, Mike Silvestri, Baltimore Examiner, June 30, 2008


Critics Cry Racism over Baltimore Sludge, NPR, April 28, 2008


NAACP questions sludge study methods, Dennis O’Brien, Baltimore Sun, April 23, 2008,1,7753105.story


NAACP seeks probe into sludge spreading in black communities, Mike Silvestri, Baltimore Examiner, April 16, 2008

"Sludge Tested As Lead-Poisoning Fix," April 14, 2008, John Heilprin and Kevin S. Vineys (AP),2933,351181,00.html


Senate Plans Hearing on Sludge, By John Heilprin, Associated Press Writer, Monday, April 14, 2008


Probes wanted on sludge research in poor neighborhoods. Sun Apr 13, 2008, John Heilprin, Associated Press


Sludge fertilizer program spurs concerns, April 13, 2008, By John Heilprin and Kevin S. Vineys, Associated Press Writers


"National policy brought sludge to Augusta farms: Ruling for farmer disputes government data," March 9, 2008, Associated Press


"Sewage-Based Fertilizer Safety Doubted," March 7, 2008, by John Heilprin and Kevin S. Vineys, Associated Press


Kern County Measure E was approved with a landslide of 85,011 votes in favor to
17,117 votes against, or 83.24% to 16.76%. It is sometimes called "the
anti-sludge ordinance", since it bans the importation into Kern County
of sludge (sewage) from other counties.