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Bedford Sludge

August 31, 2008

I am not sure where to begin with this story. I live in Bedford Va. where they are fertilizing a lot of the farms around my house. They even had a sludge storage facility about one mile down the road from my home. I was not even aware of this. I just know the air outside had a putrid smell and I couldn't figure out why. I began to notice all kinds of trucks whizzing by and the smell came from them also. When my child waited for the school bus and these trucks went by the smell was disgusting. I can just imagine what came off those trucks on the way to the dump site and what could have gotten on her.

I had some lung problems to begin with from smoking and asthma, but in a years time after quitting I kept getting sicker and couldn't figure out why. I had contracted some kind of infection that I had to have I.V. antibiotics for, twice a day for two weeks. It seemed as though I just couldn't get better. One day at lunch one of the teachers asked me if it could be related to having a sludge facility down the road from my house. I told her she was crazy there was no facility there, how could the county put in such a thing without getting the people who live there’s permission. But they did.

Finally I ended up back at my doctors and was told I had e. coli in my lungs. Now, silly me had to ask “how in the world does one get e. coli in the lungs?” He told me that it is airborne. I asked him if it could be caused by having this facility there and he looked at me kind of funny and said maybe.

For the last couple of weeks they have been putting this stuff on the farms by my house. The air smells so bad I can't even go outside to enjoy my pool or cut my grass. In the mornings when I am going to work when I drive by these farms I have to cover my nose and mouth because the stench is so rotten it will make you vomit. I now am on rotating antibiotics every month due to chronic lung infections.

I just can't imagine how people think this waste can be safe to put on the fields and to breath it in constantly. I can't imagine how our government can allow this to go on either.

Angelika Gutierrez, Bedford, VA