Ecology Ignores Call for Sewage Sludge Moratorium
It is unfortunate that the Dept. of Ecology has decided not to honor the call for a statewide moratorium on further sewage sludge land application permits made by Protect Mill Canyon Watershed and hundreds of our supporters around the state. On Oct. 24 , Ecology instead granted a permit to Bio Recycling Corporation, a very troubled sludge application company in Centralia, WA. Some of the groundwater in fields where Bio Recycling has been dumping sludge for years have reached unsafe levels of nitrate contamination. The company has inadequate storage facilities and has been told to bring them into compliance or curtail operations. Neighbors of the sludge facility are very concerned. This article from Mason County Life, published on Nov. 6, describes the issues involved. Here's a quote from a concerned neighbor from the article: "'This was an ill-conceived idea from the very beginning with applying toxic things into the ground,' said Union resident Pat Vandehey at the March hearing. 'They never thought about what happens when it’s reached a saturation point and they’re not going to be able to put it on anymore. Something has to be done at that point, but nobody seems to look ahead to the future.'”
Below the link to the article is a link to a copy of the permit Ecology granted. The permit includes numerous "conditions" that belie a history of poor management practices on the part of Bio Recycling. These "conditions" also expose how high risk the practice of dumping sewage sludge is that it requires such complex rules and conditions, further eroding the validity of Ecology's assertions that dumping sewage sludge on agricultural land is safe. It should be noted that Ecology is, in this permit, mainly concerned with one pollutant contaminant, nitrates, out of the hundreds of pollutant contaminants know to occur in sewage sludge (Ecology only monitors 10 contaminants-- nitrogen and nine heavy metals, which Protect Mill Canyon Watershed asserts is dangerously inadequate oversight).
With the issuance of this permit, defenders of a clean, safe environment need to redouble our efforts calling for a sludge moratorium and end sewage sludge dumping on ag land once and for all.
"Ecology grants Webb Hill facility final coverage, grace period." Arla Shephard Bull, Mason County Life, published Nov. 6, 2017
"Additional conditions and final coverage issuance to Bio Recycling Corporation (Bio Recycling) Biosolids North Ranch General Permit Coverage." Washington State Department of Ecology Waste 2 Resources Program, Oct. 24, 2017.
Protect Mill Canyon Watershed maintains a page of documents related to sewage sludge and the progress of our campaign. It's at:
Protect Mill Canyon Watershed asks that you consider donating to our legal fund as we ready ourselves to battle the Department of Ecology in court if they continue to threaten us by allowing sewage sludge dumping in our watershed. You may donate here: