Sewage Sludge Issues


Prions in Classes A and B Sludge Composting - reply by Helane Shields to Rufus Chaney, U.S. Composting Council Discussion - March 20, 2006
Smelling Faults: Is the sludge-pile off I-95 near the airport deadly? Jenna Portnoy's complaint, CityPaper Net, March 16-22, 2006
Helen Shield's "Letter to the Editor"
in response to "Little Cove questions safety of biosolids"

by Jim Hook (also included)
December, 2005

"The Dirty Work of Promoting "Recycling" of America's Sewage Sludge.
by Dr.Caroline Snijder - November, 2005
An excellent and very disturbing article confirming my personal opinion that the use of the term "biosolids" constitutes an egregious and insidious form of bioterrorism

Pine Twnshp Supervisors oppose creation of a State Agricultural Review Board
September 8, 2004, The Indiana Gazette

Local garbage and sludge issues surface in Harrisburg
August 2004, by Tom DiStefano, CLARION NEWS Writer

Penn Twp.officials question A&M Composting plans
July 31, 2004, Lancaster New Era
COMMENT: DEP does, indeed, appear rather negligent,
not even calling for a public hearing on this matter!!

Whatever happened to "Sewage Sludge" ?
April 30, 2004 search of the US EPS's :
NPDES (National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System)
for the term "sewage sludge"
0 (zero) results !

Also see EPA Perciacepcion

Mascaro Application for modification of Permit
"to be submitted on or about April 12"
April 27, 2004 (sic!), NOTICE in Lancaster New Era

E-mail to PA Sen. James Rhoades re: "Why your constituents want
an end to the landspreading of toxic/pathogenic sewage sludge"
January 8, 2004 - by Helane Shields, Sludge Researcher

Abstract of Editorial: In Defense of Local Control
January 7, 2004 - New York Times

E-mails re (A) EPA denial of petition for moratorium on sewage sludge spreading
and (B) David Lewis Defence Fund

January 7 and 8, 2004, by Dr. Caroline Snyder, Sierra Club Task Force
and Helane Shields, Sludge Researcher

E-mail to Composting Council protesting the renaming
by EPA of "Class A Sewage Sludge" to "Compost"

January 3, 2004 - by Helane Shields, Sludge Researcher

Governor vetoes bill limiting local rules on farming
January 1, 2004 (a good start, Gov.!) - by Peter Jackson, Lancaster New Era

Court rulings muddy biosolids regulation
December 30, 2003 - by Jim Hook, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA

Considerations for use of sewage sludge on dairy farms
December 15, 2003 - notice from Helane Shields, Sludge Researcher
referencing Cornell Waste Management Institute documents

Fight HB 1413 re LOCAL CONTROL
November 14, 2003 - by Helane Shields, Sludge Researcher

Corporate Contempt for Democracy -re SYNAGRO and DEP sign
November 11, 2003 -by Scott H. Blanchard, President, CROP

Response to CBS about WEF letter
November 9, 2003 - by Caroline Snyder, Ph.D.

City sludge, country qualms
November 7, 2003 - by Dawn Fallik, Knight Ridder Newspapers

EPA Admits Lack of Certainty on Safety
of Sewage Sludge, Signals Apparent Policy Shift

November 4, 2003: Musing -
The ReSource Institute for Low Entropy Systems

E-mail correspondence between Oostdam, Toffey and Shields re
health effects of sludge:
(Concluding) Email from Toffey to Oostdam re sewage worker health
November 4, 2003

[A] - (top) Oostdam to Shields (bottom) Toffey to Oostdam
November 3, 2003
[B] - Shields to Toffey (with numerous quotes)
November 3, 2003a
[C] - Shields to Toffey: MORE
November 3, 2003b
[C1] - to follow
[C2] - Sickness Among Waste Water Plant Personnel
November 3, 2003c: attachment to H.Shields' Email to Toffey, Nov.3, 2003b

Sewage Fertilizer Under Fire
October 29, 2003, CBS News

Dioxins in Sludge
October 24, 2003, Herald Tribune

Rally calls for local control on sludge use on farmland
by Richard Fellinger, Harrisburg bureau, York Sunday News
October 23, 2003

Neighbors protest sludge use: 100 rally at capital for 2-year moratorium
by Susan Gvozdas Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA
October 22, 2003

State rally rips sludge: Ill use noted in farming
by Michelle Pittman, Pottsville Republican & Evening Herald
October 22, 2003

Harrisburg Rally Against Sludge
October 21, 2003

E mail from Helane Shields re Local Control
in response to Rufus Chaney's memo of July 4, 2003
September 26, 2003
Synagro fined
DEP announcement, September 23, 2003

State takes a closer look at biosolids safety
August 25, 2003 Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA - by Jim Hook

Interest comes from bottom up
August 25, 2003 - Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA - by Jim Hook

Hazards of Sludge
Sun Aug.17-Sun Aug 24, 2003 Herald Tribune Editorial - by Larry Evan

Shippensburg council may upgrade sludge to Class A (Environment: Biosolids)
August 8, 2003 - Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA, by Jim Hook
(alternative link)

Questions raised on bid proposal
for purchase at $50K of land to be used for operating a soil (biosolid) processing plant in Frailey Twnshp
August 7, 2003: The News-Item; The Plumbing Outlet (

Signs to notify all of biosolids: Montgomery Township approves new ordinance
August 5, 2003 by Jim Hook, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA
alternative link

Supervisors eyeing biosolids ordinance - Regulations considered weak
August 2, 2003 by Jim Hook, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA

What is the Impact of Sludge?
August 2, 2003, by Maria D. Martirano, Times/News

Sludge Removal may be issue (Maryland Sludge to Pennsylvania?)
July 30, 2003, by Maria D. Martirano, Times/News

Sludge Foes Hosting Informational Meeting
ult.July, 2003, Larimer, PA, Cumberland Times/News

Emails re Boycott, July 28, 2003

Citizens Boycott Sludge Conference - July 28, 2003

'They have converted my water to a sewer' Homeowner blames biosolids for taint
by Jim Hook, Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA
July 12, 2003

Candidate presses for sludge law - Opponents : Moratorium beyond county authority
May 9, 2003: Public Opinion, Chambersburg, PA, by Emily Phelps

Two comments on Letter "Biosolids safe for farm use"
March 13, 2003, Indiana Print and Publishing Co
(1) by Ronald Crytzer, Smicksburg (2) Rep. Camille "Bud" George

NYC dumps 95M pact with local sludge firm
March 6, 2003 , Lancaster New Era, by Ad Crable

please see: MASCARO files

Text below copied from:
National Biosolids Partnership:
Weekly Biosolids Update:
week of March 3, 2003, No.323

To review the 8-5-02 letter and claims from the Pennock family to EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman, visit: To review the PA DEP 9-20-02 letter to EPA Administrator Whitman outlining their actions taken in response to the Pennock claims, visit: To review the July 2001 PA DEP Interim Report into the investigation of the death of Daniel Pennock, visit: To review the May 2000 PA DEP investigation into the death of Tony Behun, visit:

Local consulting firm sued for death attributed to sludge
February 27, 2003, Lancaster New Era

"City, twp.dispute puts $ 950,000 sewerage grant at risk"
February 27, 2003, Lancaster New Era, by Ryan Robinson: part A - part B

Bedford sludge deal off
December 26, 2002 - by Kathy Mellott, Tribune-Democrat

Update on SYNAGRO accusations, EPA deposition, by Dr. Dave Lewis, November 10, 2002

Right to Farm Act Protest
October 9, 2002, Lancaster New Era

PA AG files charges against Mascaro, October 1 and 13, 2002

DEP attorneys have filed a motion asking the Environmental Hearing Board to reject an appeal for a supersedeas:
(1) Original message circulated by Helane Shields with article in Pottstown Mercury of October 1, 2002 - October 2, 2002
(2) E-mail from David E. Hess, Commissioner, PADEP, to Helane Shields - October 3, 2002
(3) E-mail from Helane Shields to David E. Hess - - October 3, 2002

E mail from Len Martin to Dr. David Lewis re SYNAGRO's "White Paper" concerning Tony Behun's death
........ including recent testimony of Joseph C. Cocalis, U.S. Public Health Service (retired)
........September 13, 2002

Biosolids' risk not worth it, panelists say
September 4, 2002, by Lisa Price, Republican Herald

Sewage Sludge Hearing by Rep. Belfanti
September 3, 2002 Mount Carmel, PA

the Casher Case revisited
Correspondence between Ellen Harrison of Cornell University and David Hess, Admin., PADEP
concerning the Casher Case
August 15, 2002

by Caroline Snyder, Aug.4, 2002

First Statewide Conference on Land Application of Sewage Sludge
Carlisle, PA: August 3, 2002

Federal study recommends new rules and studies for sewage sludge use
July 11, 2002, by Tom DiStefano, CLARION NEWS Writer

National study faults science behind sludge rules
July 3, 2002: Rep. Camille George of PA asks to suspend Class B Sludge applications

Tables of Incidents related to Sludge Spreading
By Cornell University, latest update July 1, 2002

Dr. David Lewis to Commissioner David Hess
July 5, 2002
a n d

PADEP Commissioner David Hess to Dr. David Lewis
July 5, 2002 (?)
a n d

Dr.David Lewis' response to PADEP David Hess' (PADEP Commissioner) comments
July 5, 2002
a n d

Helane Shields to PA DEP Commissioner David Hess
July 5, 2002
concerning Tony Behun and Danny Pennock, that the cause of death was S. aureus


June 23, 2002 by Helane Shields,

Butler regulates biosolids
June 23, 2002, by Lisa Cooney, Republican Herald

United Mine Workers protests NIOSH change in rule
June 20, 2002, Helane Shields reporting letter of James Lamont to Frank Hearl of March 20, 2002

Bill Would Make It Hard to Limit Sludge
June 18, 2002, Indiana (PA) Gazette, by Jason L. Levan

June 14, 2002: copies of correspondence between Helane Shield and Robert Bastian, EPA

Farms using sludge safe for people study says
Friday, May 17, 2002 By Ad Crable New Era Staff Writer
A L S O : Copy of Letter to Editor by Helane Shields about Ad Crable's headline

Alert re Senate Bill 1413 plus explanation on the stand of Townships

Copy of Senate Bill 1413

Pennsylvania Senate Passes Bill to Eliminate Township Control of Corporate Factory Farms and Land Application of Sewage Sludge> and: State bill stirs debate in Manor Twp.
May, 2002
BLO comments: talking about railroading a bill! Now awaiting a court decision to see if townships protecting citizens from deleterious substances and toxics is "unfair" discrimination, or just fair? ;o]

EPA Inspector General Report on Sludge Rule - April 4, 2002

Sludge more harmful than beneficial
February 25, 2002, Letter to the Editor, Lancaster New Era, by Ben Oostdam

Reconsider safety of spreading sludge It seems prudent to continue checking the safety of this relatively new fertilizing process
February 22, 2001, Editorials, Lancaster New Era

Federal probe raises sewage sludge health concerns
Investigation finds too little research exists to protect humans from the viruses,
bacteria and toxins in the sludge spread on land

February 7, 2002

November 24, 2001

About time people realize that there are sludge victims !!
NOTE: if this link does not work, please try

Bioterrorism by Biosolids: Response
Letter to the Editor, Lancaster New Era, by B.L. Oostdam
(NOTE: not published)
Bioterrorism by Biosolids
Letter to the Editor, Lancaster New Era, by B.L. Oostdam
(re-headed by LNE to : "Monitor incoming sewage sludge with care.")

Letter from National Sludge Association to U.S. Congress, October 15, 2001:
requesting stop to land disposal of sludge and discontinuation of public funding of National Biosolids Partnership

PDEP Chief Hess meets with Pennocks, parents of son thought killed by sludge
E-mail and article, July, 2001

Sludge Corruption in PA ?
Email exchange and Sandy Smith's report re Springettsbury, York sludging suit, July 30, 2001 (also see York County Sludge Madness)

PDEP announces Hearing Date re A &M Composting Permit Renewal
July 18, 2001, starting 07:00 p.m (19:00) at Penn Twnshp Bldg, Manheim

toxics in fertilizer
quote from Duff Wilson , Seattle Times, dated July 15, 2001

PDEP Secretary James M. Seif resigns
Lancaster New Era, March 16, 2001

Countians in anti-sludge petition drive
Lancaster New Era, March 15, 2001
includes reference to Sandy Smith, York Cy anti-sludge activist

Please read Helane Shield's Email request and copies of letters
addressed to NAS-NRC concerning bias in the constitution of the new
committee to report on sewage sludge:
Email from Len Martin, July 10, 2001 re "Toxic Chemical Review Process Faulted"
copies of three letters
letter from Cornell University Staff to NAS-NRC

also: letter from Charlotte Hartman to NAS-NRC
a n d
letter to Hon.Christine Todd-Whitman, Administrator, USEPA
March 1, 2001 protesting designation of EPA liaison to NAS-NRC

Please check out: General Sludge Issues
which includes case study and examples of health hazards of "biosolids"

Please read and send your comments (within 60 days from Feb 10, 2001)
to PDEP about this huge and questionable operation
involving New York sludge processing
and distribution of "biosolids" !

NOTE: On February 9, 2001, I made a search of articles about
J.P.Mascaro & Sons on the search page of PDEP;
they provided 75 items which are summarized HERE for your judgment.
Also take a look at the interesting Mascaro Website

Notice re Application of A & M for renewal of license
promulgated in Intelligencer Journal, February 7, 2001

the Manor Landfill controversy :
Links to scanned newspaper articles and to proponents' websites
January 24, 2001 and subsequent dates

Waste Disposal Issues

Regional-sewage-system study appears near
Lancaster New Era, March 14, 2001

Suburban sewer rates rise 27%
January 24, 2001, Lancaster New Era, by Cindy Stauffer and Ryan Robinson

LASA seeking some new ways to use sludge

January 24, 2001, Lancaster New Era, by Ad Crable

Trash trucks inspection set
October 14, 2000, Lancaster New Era,

Safety of land sludge questioned :
Boy died in 1994 after riding motor cycle
through field treated with sewage
May 15, 2000, Lancaster New Era

Alcosan may fire firm that bribed Gigliotti
about sludge hauling contract with a Newcastle company
April 27, 2000

re Lancaster Sludge Odor
E-mail of April 26, 2000 from Bradley A. Striebig to BLO

USEPA 40 CFR p.685-716, July 1, 1997: Standards for the use or disposal of sewage sludge"

Please visit the Website of the

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection

for details on SLUDGE, including:

...Agricultural Beneficial Use of Sewage Sludge

...Biosolids Home Page

...Municipal and Residual Waste

...1996 Waste Import Data

Guide to Municipal and Residual Waste Permit Applications

PA Dept.Envir.Protection Form N : Composting Facilities

PA Dept.Envir.Protection Form 43: Request for Approval to Dispose of or Process Sewage Sludge

Also see Agricultural Land Application of Biosolids in Virginia: Risks and Concerns
by G.K.Evanylo, 1999, VA Cooperative Extension

...Letter from PA Governor Tom Ridge the Hons.George E. Pataki,
.......... Governor of the State of New York
..........and Rudolph W. Giuliani,
..........Mayor of New York City
..........concerning alarming increase
.......... in municipal waste imports from N.Y.

For a more recent update, see:
...Governor Ridge on Out-of-State Waste
...........March 10, 1999

Also visit the site of:
the Pen Sludge Leadership Team

...For a series of graphs showing statistics on sewage sludge, please press here

...Also visit the general sludge issues Selection Page

Mysterious Smell Around Lancaster, PA
a series of articles published in the Lancaster New Era, December, 1999

On October 27, 1999, I received a thorough briefing on the A & M operations by Mr. Tom Sweeney, Soil Scientist of PDEP. Thanks again, Tom!
In addition to copies I made of documents requested earlier, I also received several relevant USEPA and PDEP documents, as well as four good summary reports prepared by Dr. Richard C. Stehouwer of Penn State - who, in response to my E-mail question wrote that these reports can be downloaded from their WWW site.

NOTE: The letter below was acknowledged by TIME but not published.
Instead, they featured comments by Joseph Cocalis in their October 4, 1999 issue.
Copy of letter to TIME ..........submitted by Ben Oostdam on September 22, 1999

Fight over Sludge Starts to Get Dirty.
..........TIME, Notebook - Environment, issue dated September 27, 1999

DEP Issues Odor Penalties at Berks & Lancaster County Facilities
July 16, 1999
A & M composter fined
..........Lancaster New Era,
..........July 14, 1999

Sewer, Waste Authorities, Trade Services
..........Sludge will be landfilled; swap will lower costs.
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, May 31, 1999:
............... part A
............... part B

J.P. Mascaro & Sons Home Page

"The New York City sludge issue is not that simple."
..........Letter to the Editor, Lancaster New Era,
.......... Ben Oostdam, May 22, 1999

Email to PA Dept.of Envir.Protection, Ben Oostdam, May 20, 1999

NYC sludge will benefit Lancaster Farms
..........Letter to the Editor of Lancaster New Era, May 19, 1999 Robert E. Adamski, P.E., Deputy Commissioner
..........Director, Bureau of Wastewater Pollution Control, New York City

...New York Sludge Here!
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, April 9, 1999

..Dear NYC: Keep Your Trash!
..........County sites reject Big Apple waste, Ridge Survey finds
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, April 3, 1999
..........(included because article also refers to Manheim A&M
.......... but press here for more about waste disposal from and in New York

...Editorial in Lancaster New Era,
.......... March 23, 1999:
.........."Before N.Y.sludge trucks roll,
...........................we need some answers."

...Sludge, Government Spokespersons, Manheim - our backyard
..........Letter to the Editor of the Lancaster New Era
..........Ben Oostdam, March 19, 1999
..............(as actually printed; comparison with letter as sent (below)
..............shows that copy of my June, 98 warning was mailed to PA Governor
..............Senate and DEP!)

...Sludge, Government Spokespersons, Manheim - our backyard
..........Letter to the Editor of the Lancaster New Era
..........Ben Oostdam, March 19, 1999
..........(actual text sent in Letter to Editor)
Manheim plant ok'd for New York Sludge
..........Smell feared as 1 million tons begin arriving soon
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, March 18, 1999

part 1 ........... part 2

...DEP, A & M neighbors smell a problem
..........Sludge Complaints
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, February 10, 1999

...Sludge testing bill gets House OK
..........But scope limited and Senate vote uncertain
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, November 17, 1998

...NYC sludge not coming - yet
..........Concerns about Manheim firm cited
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, June 30, 1998

...series of 3 Lebanon, PA sludge articles
..........published in the Lebanon Daily News, December 14, 1997

...Commentary in the Lancaster New Era
..........of December 8, 1997 by Dr.Ben Oostdam
..........concerning sludge imports into Lancaster County

... State may appeal judge's order to lift sanctions
..........against Manheim composter.
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, December 3, 1997

... Environmental Hearing Board
..........suspends order to cut sludge intake at A & M Composting

...Why does Barley
..........oppose saving farms from sludge?
..........Lancaster New Era, November 7, 1997

... Judge suspends limits on Penn composting plant
..........Temporary ruling lifts DEP order that severely reduced sludge intake
..........P.J. Reilly, Intelligencer Journal, November 12, 1997

Rep. Barley aids A & M in sludge controversy
Helps owner arrange meeting to air 'harassment'
complaints against Pa. officials
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, October 20, 1997:
...part 1 (incl. photograph of State Rep. John E. Barley)

...part 2

...Will new Pa order kill NYC sludge deal here?
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, October 3, 1997

...Q & A re New York Sludge
..........responses by Sally Rowland of New York to some questions
..........asked by Ben Oostdam, October 1997

...Demos eye tough sludge controls; ...hit Rep. Barley
..........Tim Buckwalter and Ad Crable
..........Lancaster New Era, October 28, 1997

...Manheim sludge plant told to halve operations
..........Mandate expected to affect NYC sewage deal
..........(15 years $ 95.6 million contract to compost about 60,000 tons of N.Y. sludge per year...)
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, September 27, 1997

Excellent article by Susan O. Stranahan in The Philadelphia Inquirer
of September 9, 1997 entitled:
"A growing protest that Pa is getting dumped on":

... [part 1] ... [part 2] ... [part 3] ... [part 4] ... [part 5 (=photograph of facility)]

...State will meet with compost plant critics
..........Lancaster New Era, September 4, 1997

...Opponents blast NYC sludge in county
..........Pa. to weigh closing firm next week
a n d
......Sludge (cont.)

..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, August 28, 1997

...W.Va.warns county about sludge firm

a n d

...N.Y sludge, (cont.)
..........(includes map of N.Y.City sludge composting site in Manheim, Lancaster Cy, PA)
..........Ad Crable/Bill Dussinger,
.......... Lancaster New Era, August 26, 1997

...EPA engineer: PA becoming 'pay toilet'
..........Lancaster New Era, July 10, 1997

...Local plant to process 14% of all NYC sludge
..........Ad Crable, Lancaster New Era, May 28, 1997

...Sludge forum slated for Friday at Farm & Home Center
..........Lancaster New Era, May 28, 1997

...Letter dated March 28, 1997 from NYC DEP Commissioner Joel A. Miele Biosolids Citizens Advisory Committee members
..........announcing hearing on April 9, 1997 re implementation of Biosolids Management Plan
..........(which includes 15 yr contract with Solid Waste Services, Manheim, PA)

*...Pequea to mail letter stating sludge concerns
..........Neighbors Southern Lancaster County, March 5, 1997

*...Quarryville farmer plans sludge spread
..........Jed Reinert, Neighbor Southern Lancaster County,
..........February 12, 1997

Study Sludge Management
May 24, 1996, Lancaster New Era, Editorial
York Countians rebelling against Lancaster Sludge
May 23, 1996, Lancaster New Era, by Ad Crable
York Countians rebelling against Lancaster Sludge continued: Sludge Program
May 23, 1996, Lancaster New Era, by Ad Crable

...Philadelphia Treated Sewage Sludge Disposal at Sea
..........Article by Ben Oostdam about Ocean Disposal of Sewage Waste in the 1970's
..........mainly for historic and environmentally responsible viewpoint
..........but particularly note the CONCLUSION !!

first version: November 1, 1997;separated sludge_general.html: November 10,1997;
modified: May 26, 1998; reorganized: January 8, 1999;
latest versions: May 1, 2000; March 17, June 15, July 17, July 30, Oct.18, 2001;
Feb.14, 22, 25, May 13,15, 18, June 14, 20, 21, 23, July 5,9,12, Aug.4,15, 29, Sep.4, 14, Oct.3, Nov.7, 10, 2002 ; March 9,May 11,July 29,Aug 9,27, Oct.27,30, Nov.3,6,8,10,19, 2003; March 3,5, April 30, August 1, 4, Sep.23, 2004 - Dec.07, 2005 - March 16,23, 2006
file name=
aka :
Index of Websites by Ben Oostdam