Dear David  .... thank you very much for forwarding these articles.    Helane

Culpeper News wrote:

> >From David Swanson
> Culpeper News
> Staff Writer
> 13 April 2000
>     As discussed in the March 16 Culpeper News, the tenants in four houses
> owned by Wayne Lenn and his brothers in Culpeper County have been without
> safe water at least since December.
>      The Lenns have now returned from wintering in Florida and plan to have
> Leazer Drilling Co. Inc. drill a new well on the property in Stevensburg. As
> soon as they do so, Wayne Lenn said, they will pour cement down the old well
> and also down an even older one on the site has not been used for years.
>      One of the tenants, Doyne Shrader, has had some tests done on the
> contaminated water, but he has not yet had one done to identify whether the
> fecal coliform in it is human or from cattle or other animals.
>      Shrader and his neighbors began noticing problems with their water late
> last year after biosolids were applied to land adjacent to where they live.
> Lenn now says sludge use is the “about the only logical” explanation for the
> contamination.
>      Joiner Micro Labs in Warrenton can reportedly perform a test that
> determines the source of fecal coliform, but the accuracy of the testing is
> uncertain. A professor at JMU is reportedly able to do DNA testing to make
> this determination more reliably.
>      Shrader is considering having both such tests performed.
> *****
>      On March 19 James Burns, the local Health Department’s district
> director, wrote to Shrader warning against using the water from his well but
> advising against doing additional tests of it. Burns wrote that the well was
> definitely contaminated, “probably by surface water entering the well . . .
> . I do not recommend further testing of this well, but the new well should
> be tested.”
>      Failing to follow this advice, Shrader had some tests done the last
> week in March. Joiner Labs tested the well water and found MPN 80/100 ml for
> total coliform bacteria (meaning that the most probable number of organisms
> is 80 in every 100 ml of water). The test found MPN 8/100 ml for E. coli. An
> acceptable level in drinking water for coliform bacteria, including E. coli,
> according to the Health Department, is zero.
>      Joiner Labs also tested a sample of sludge from the Lenn farm adjacent
> to the tenants’ homes and found MPN 9 per gram for E. coli. A sample of soil
> taken 10 feet from the well in the direction of the sludge was found to
> contain MPN <2 per gram for E. coli. Robyn Joiner explained that this means
> none was detected, but it is not necessarily absent.
>      On March 28, Shrader said, Suzanne Haldin-Coates of the Health
> Department told him that BioGro, the firm that applied the sludge on the
> Lenn farm, had applied for the permit on Lenn’s behalf to dig a new well.
> Charles Shepherd of the Health Department confirmed on Tuesday that “BioGro
> applied on Lenn’s behalf as his agent. They were the ones that had Mr.
> Lenn’s telephone number. They were the ones that could contact him.”
>      Shrader also said he has developed a rash on his left leg, beginning in
> March. He is continuing to have medical testing done.
>      On April 3, Shrader said, the Lenns had returned from Florida and had
> poured chlorine down the well but had not yet contacted him. The next day,
> Shrader says, Wayne Lenn called him.
>      Shrader says that Lenn suggested he move out and that Shrader told him
> he was “financially and physically incapable” of it. Then Lenn reportedly
> said he would have to consult with BioGro.
>      Contacted this week, Lenn said he has been waiting for days for Leazer
> Drilling Co. to show up and dig a new well. Mark Bannister, at Leazer, said
> the well will be drilled by the end of this week or the beginning of next.
>      “Circumstantial evidence,” Lenn said, “points heavily to contamination
> from the sludge. That’s about the only logical [explanation], but there
> seems to be no test that can prove it.” Lenn said he had never heard of
> tests to identify fecal coliform as of human origin.
> *****
>      Lenn said he charges tenants rent that is “$100 under the market,” and
> that before he left for Florida in late January, he told his tenants he
> would give them $100 per month to buy water. “As soon as my back was turned
> they decided they wouldn’t pay the rent.”
>      The tenants all stopped paying rent as of January.
>      Lenn said he had never heard of ground water getting into the well in
> years past, and that if he’d known the well casing was cracked he could have
> replaced it a year ago and avoided the contamination.
>      In response to his tenants’ (and the Health Department’s) complaints
> that they couldn’t reach him for months, Lenn said, “Aw, hell’s bells. The
> mail is forwarded! Didn’t you know the postal service has been forwarding
> mail for 150 years?”
>      Lenn said he has evicted the tenants from one house, following a
> disagreement over rent. Asked whether others would be evicted, Lenn laughed
> loudly and said, “Call back in a couple of weeks.”
>      Shrader said that he did not know the mail was being forwarded and that
> he has always paid cash because he has no check book. He said the Health
> Department had told him in early March the tenants would get free rent plus
> bottled water.
>      Shepherd said, “That’s what I was told by Pamela Gratton of BioGro . .
> . . Where BioGro got the information I don’t know.”
>      Lenn does not think his tenants have had it very bad. He laughed
> uproariously through much of his conversation with the Culpeper News.
>      “Grocery stores are full of bottled water,” he said. What about
> showers? “They’ve been taking showers all along.” But they shouldn’t have
> been, according to the Health Department.
>      To that, Lenn laughed and said, “Chicken and hamburger are full of E.
> coli. . . . It was none of my fault. . . . The more we bend over backwards
> to help those who need to live in modest-priced housing, the more we get
> screwed.”
>      Lenn called back to say, “Ask all the tenants why in the world didn’t
> they move out . . . . Not one of them has a security deposit. . . . If they
> didn’t have the money to move, they would have had it by the second month of
> not paying rent.” (Shrader’s response to this was that he’s had the expense
> of hauling water and eating out.)
>      Lenn called back again to say, “We farmed all our life for a living,
> and I am very partial to doing everything I can to help farmers. The reason
> I did nothing to the well prior to going south was I thought it would clear
> itself up after a liner was put in, and the [bacteria] count went down from
> 1,600 to 2.
>      “I thought if I gave up the well it might hurt farmers’ use of the
> sludge. I still want to do anything I can not to destroy farmers’ ability to
> use the sludge, because it’s such a help. If a few tenants have to wash
> behind their ears with a dishrag for a few days, I’m going to be with the
> farmers.”
>      Asked whether BioGro is paying for the new well, Lenn declined to
> answer.
>      Shrader and other residents have been discussing with Ted Korth, a
> Charlottesville lawyer, various possible courses of action.
> *****
>      Shrader said he has not yet heard back from Laurie Reynolds of the EPA,
> who told him she would look into this matter on March 20. Nor has he heard
> from Bill Chase (D-Stevensburg) or any of the other Culpeper supervisors,
> though Chase told him at last week’s board meeting that he was sorry for not
> returning his calls and would eventually be in touch with him.
>      Shrader has been in touch with residents of Grand Bay, Ala., who have
> formed a group called Citizens Against Pollution Inc. to oppose the dumping
> of sludge there by BioGro. Gary Schaefer, a member of the group, describes
> illnesses to humans and dead dogs.
>      “Pamela Gratton got up at a meeting,” he said, “and said she spent all
> day in the field with the trucks and never smelled anything. Three people
> jumped up and just went berserk.”
>      Schaefer said that he has mailed a video of violations to the EPA. He
> describes the EPA as extremely powerful. “[Federal Department of
> Transportation] regulations say [sludge is] hazardous material to transport,
> but EPA overrules DOT.”
> The Handshys
>      Scott and Lori Handshy, who live in Stevensburg, next to a property
> where sludge has been applied, had the tests done at Joiner labs on
> Shrader’s water as well as on their own and that of a neighbor, Pat Lake.
>      They are also having tests done out of state on Shrader’s water for
> heavy metals and viruses. Scott Handshy said that several groups are helping
> to pay for the tests, including one called the National Sludge Alliance and
> another called People Against Toxic Sludge Inc.
>      The Joiner tests on the Handshys’ well tested positive for total
> coliform bacteria but negative for E. coli. A stream on the site tested MPN
> 300/100 ml for E. coli.
>      Desiree Lopasic of the Health Department came out, at the Handshys’
> request, and tested their water. She found MPN <2 for fecal coliform in the
> Handshys’ water and also in that of Pat Lake.
>      Lake said Joiner’s test had found bacteria in her well, which she found
> hard to believe since she has had good water for many years. She said that
> both Lopasic’s test and another done at Environmental Systems Services, a
> private company in Culpeper, found no fecal coliform.
>      Lake said she was very much relieved. However, the tests may not
> contradict each other, if -- as seems to be the case -- Joiner tested for
> total coliform and the other labs tested only for fecal coliform.
>      Health Department standards require the absence of any coliform
> bacteria. Coliform bacteria is an indicator of the probable presence of
> pathogens.
> The Settles
>      Sherri and Larry Settle live in a house near Beauregard Farms, a
> 3,082-acre farm near Brandy Station where sludge is applied. Beauregard is
> owned by Johanna Quandt and her family -- very wealthy Germans who are
> reportedly the main stockholders in BMW -- and managed by Jim Bowen.
>      The Settles blame sludge for the death in January of their Great Dane,
> who drank water in the fields at Beauregard. Sherri Settle was admitted to
> the hospital for two days herself and diagnosed with an intestinal virus on
> Jan. 28-29, something she said she’d never had before. She has also, she
> said, developed “pink, scaly stuff” on her trunk and legs where the water
> touches her in the bathtub. Settle said that she has seen her water come out
> of the tap black “like charcoal.”
>      Recently, Settle said, her water has cleared up. But, she noted that no
> geese have come to the lakes on Beauregard Farm this spring, as they did in
> previous years.
>      Bowen said that sludge was applied on 500 of the property’s 3,600 acres
> last year and on another 500 this winter, with more to come. Bowen said that
> six to eight neighbors had signed waivers of distance restrictions (county
> law requires that sludge be kept 400 feet from occupied dwellings), and that
> for about 12 rentals on the property there was no need for waivers.
>      “Nobody’s complained to me,” Bowen said.
> Asthma, allergies, and sludge odor
>      Diane Reno is a Stevensburg resident with asthma and allergies who says
> she still suffers whenever she has to drive through areas that were sludged
> last November.
>      “It has a musty, moldy smell, and I’m highly allergic to mold . . . .
> When I come through that area I have to use an inhaler. I get headaches.”
> Reno said her granddaughter and son-in-law also get headaches from being in
> sludged areas.
>      “I don’t know why the board won’t listen to us and find out what’s in
> this stuff. . . . We’re not opposing farmers. I have 40 acres. We’re from
> farming families. We just don’t want it to end up killing people.
>      “. . . . They say it’s psychological. It’s not psychological. I have to
> use my inhaler. I feel like I can’t breathe. . . . I liked it here until
> that stuff started being spread.”
> Staff Writer
> 13 April 2000
>         Complaints about sludge use in Culpeper have increased, and the Board
> Supervisors’  Rules Committee has taken steps toward beginning to monitor
> the practice.
>         Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Agency’s Inspector General
issued a
> report on March 20 finding that “while EPA promotes land application, EPA
> cannot assure the public that current land application practices are
> protective of human health and the environment.”
>           Since then, the chairman of the  U.S. House of Representatives’
> Committee has recommended ceasing the spraying of class B sludge (which is
> used here in Culpeper) and getting the Centers for Disease Control involved
> in studying it.  (See
>         The county Rules Committee, which is made up of  supervisors Jimmy Lee
> (R-Cedar Mt.), Carolyn Smith (R-West Fairfax) and John Coates (I-Salem) met
> Tuesday morning to hear an update from County Planning Director John
> Egertson.  Egertson said that he and County Attorney Andrew McRoberts met
> with BioGro and Recyc, the two companies dumping sludge here, and that,
> “They’re willing to pay the salary for a monitor.  We intend to have Andrew
> draft an agreement to be signed by Recyc and BioGro, and bring it back to
> you and the full board for approval.”
>         “Who would this individual answer to?” Coates wanted to know.  “That’s
> good question,” said Egertson.  He said that it hadn’t been discussed, but
> that the monitor would work closely with his office.  Egertson said the
> monitor would work part time only.
>         Following Tuesday’s meeting, Egertson said the new employee would
> buffer distances where sludge is dumped and perform random testing of the
> sludge.  This would be done by sending it off to a lab.  The bill would be
> paid by BioGro or Recyc.
>     Egertson said the monitor would sometimes notify adjoining owners when
> sludge was going to be spread, but would not do so in every case.
>         “Why are they sitting at the table with BioGro and Recyc?” asked
> Stevensburg resident Lori Handshy, a vocal opponent of the use of biosolids
> here.  “They should say, ‘This is our county.  This is what we’re doing.’”
> Other counties
>         At Culpeper County’s sludge information meeting on March 15, more than
> of the panelists asserted that Fauquier collects a fee from BioGro and
> Recyc, the two companies dumping sludge there, a fee used for both
> processing applications and monitoring the sludge application.  There have
> been no complaints in Fauquier in the last five years, according to one of
> the panelists.
>         But Beverly Pullen in the Fauquier zoning office said this week that
> Fauquier charges a $100 fee per tax-map parcel for processing applications.
> (Culpeper charges $200.)
>   Pullen said that Fauquier also charges a $2-per-acre fee, but does not do
> any monitoring.  That job, she said, is left to Desiree Lopasic at the state
> Health Department office, the same individual responsible for monitoring in
> Culpeper.  Holly Meade, also in the Fauquier zoning office, said the
> $2-per-acre fees go into Fauquier’s general fund.
>         Pullen, who has been with Fauquier for three years, said they have had
> complaints, including ones alleging that sludge had contaminated water
> supplies.  She advised speaking to Lopasic for the details.
>          Lopasic could not be reached for comment.  Charles Shepherd of the
> Department of Health said  Lopasic is responsible for 35 or 36 counties.
>         The Assistant County Administrator in Orange County who handles
> Linda Martin, said, “We’re the only county in the state that has a biosolids
> monitor.”       She said that Orange is paid roughly $10,000 per year by
> and Recyc to cover the $10- per-hour wages and supplies and mileage costs of
> a county employee who checks on setbacks and buffers, makes sure
> lime-stabilized sludge is used, and adjusts sludging schedules to minimize
> the nuisance to neighbors.
>         Until  recently the monitor was Michael Yancy.  He has resigned, and
> has advertised for a replacement.  Educational qualifications required are a
> high school diploma.  The monitor does no testing, Martin said, but refers
> complaints to Desiree Lopasic.
>         Orange County Supervisor Grover Wilson said this week, “I never have
> supported using sludge.  They’ve let them spread it in flood plains, and
> it’s washing down the river.  People in Fredericksburg and Lake of the Woods
> are drinking it.”
>      Wilson said that adding lime has taken much of the odor away, “but it
> still has harmful materials, heavy metals.  There are no inspections.  All
> the monitor does is check the footage from houses. . . . It doesn’t amount
> to a hill of beans.  We ought to have a biologist do tests . . . . They
> don’t know what they’re spreading out there.”
>         Wilson added that he was amused by Culpeper’s recent sludge meeting. 
> kind of got tickled.  They wouldn’t let anybody speak because it was an
> educational meeting!”
>         According to Wilson, sludge is sometimes stored on farms in Orange
> the weather is right for spreading it.  “We have a lot of hand-dug wells
> that are only 28 or 30 feet deep.  If people get sick, what’s the county
> going to do? . . . . It’s only the last three or four or five years they’ve
> been hauling it in here.  The majority of people are against it.”
>         Wilson said he would be proposing this week in Orange, as he has been
> years, a $5-per-ton tipping fee to be used for testing, with any extra to go
> into the general fund.  “Cities are paying $500 to $700 per load to trucking
> companies to get rid of this stuff.  What’s another hundred bucks?”
>         Martin said Orange would be discussing this week whether to begin
> a fee for the permit application process.
> Other localities
>         Other localities in the U.S. have instituted a “tipping fee,” which is
> by sludging companies and used to test and monitor their actions.
>     In Rush Township in Centre County, Pa., this fee is $40 per ton and is
> used for testing.  A sample ordinance drawn up in Pennsylvania and offered
> as a model for any locality calls for having each ton of sludge tested for
> “chemical composition.”
>       The locality’s enforcement officer is to take a sample and send it to
> a lab employed by the locality prior to each application.  The ordinance
> requires a per-ton tipping fee to be paid quarterly.                           
Noncompliance on
> two occasions results in “a permanent ban on any further land application of
> biosolids by that person or corporation; and the payment of financial
> penalties as delineated in this ordinance.”
>          All testing results are to be made public within 10 days.  The
> does not specify what “chemical components” to test for, but gives the
> locality 30 days to produce a list.
>         A major hurdle any locality will face that wants to monitor the safety
> sludging operations is determining what to test for.  The EPA is not of much
> help in this regard, judging by its Inspector General’s recent report.
>       Testing of dangers from airborne material is, in particular, an
> uncharted territory, according to Henry Staudinger, a retired lawyer from
> Shenandoah who has spent the past five years studying and opposing sludge
> use.
>      Speakers at the
> Board of Supervisors meeting
>         At last week’s Board of Supervisors’ meeting, three people spoke from
> floor on the subject of biosolids.
>     The first was Doyne Shrader, a Stevensburg resident whose problems with
> a contaminated well were discussed in the Culpeper News March 16 and are
> further detailed in an accompanying article today.  Shrader asked the board
> for a public investigation of the cause of the well’s contamination.  And he
> urged “anyone who lives in or around land where biosolids are applied to
> have their well tested and see their doctor for possible exposure to harmful
> chemical contaminants and bacteria.”
>         The second speaker was Scott Handshy, who called the board’s attention
> the recent audit report on the EPA by the agency’s Inspector General.  This
> report concludes, “EPA does not have an effective program for ensuring
> compliance with the land application requirements of Part 503 [the EPA’s own
> standards for sludge disposal].”
>         Handshy asked the supervisors, “If EPA can’t themselves monitor
> they’ve established, how can the state of Virginia or Culpeper County?  I’ve
> asked the state and I’ve asked each of you for the science on this and I’ve
> received nothing.  The meeting [on March 15] was a paid political
> advertisement. . . . I challenge you to present the other side.”
>         The third speaker was Jim Bowen, president of the Culpeper County Farm
> Bureau, chairman of the Ag-Forestal Districts Advisory Committee and manager
> of Beauregard Farms.  “We support the biosolids ordinance,” Bowen said.
> “The meeting was very well presented.”