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2019 is the year we take sewage sludge off your kitchen table

Chrys Ostrander

Yuck Factor2019 is the year we take sewage sludge off your kitchen table and put it on the legislative table.

We won't accept the dumping of sewage sludge on agricultural land and we're going to bring it into the public policy conversation in a big way.

Way back in 2002, the National Academies of Science National Research Council issued a report on a biosolids research study, funded by EPA, which concluded: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's standards that govern using treated sewage sludge on soil are based on outdated science... The agency should update its standards using improved methods for assessing health risks, and should further study whether treated sewage sludge causes health problems for workers who apply it to land and for residents who live nearby... More rigorous enforcement of the standards is needed as well;"

Now, sixteen years later, the Environmental Protection Agency’s own Office of Inspector General published a new report: “EPA Unable to Assess the Impact of Hundreds of Unregulated Pollutants in Land-Applied Biosolids on Human Health and the Environment.” In it, the OIG complained that the EPA isn’t making the public aware that “potentially harmful and unregulated pollutants,” such as pharmaceuticals, steroids and flame retardants, are present in biosolids.

What the science says, but the regulators refuse to heed, is that disposal of sewage sludge on land where we grow our food cannot be considered "safe."

Here are some concrete steps you can take right now.

A: Send a message to Washington Governor Jay Inslee and Washington State Department of Ecology Director Maia Bellon:
You must immediately impose a state-wide emergency moratorium on approving all pending permits for land application of sewage sludge! Use this link:

B: Contact your state legislators and ask them to introduce legislation:
1) To ban the land-application of sewage sludge;
2) To get safety warning labels on all products that contain biosolids;
3) To label foods that were grown using sewage sludge.
Use this link:

C: TAKE ACTION at the National Level: Demand Your Right to Know About Toxic Sewage Sludge in Your Food! Congress must act. Ask your Member of Congress to cosponsor the Sewage Sludge in Food Production Consumer Notification Act. Use this link:

To help build a statewide network in Washington, contact us at

Action Alert January, 2019