Inspecting Sludge

In Toxic Sludge Is Good For You, we wrote about efforts by the Environmental Protection Agency and sewage treatment plants to enhance the image of sewage sludge by renaming it as "biosolids" so that it can be "beneficially used" as fertilizer. Now the EPA's own Office of Inspector General (OIG) has officially released a report on EPA's sewage sludge rule. The OIG identified over ten major problem areas under the current rule and warned that "EPA cannot assure the public that current land application practices [of sewage sludge] are protective of human health and the environment." Currently the EPA permits over 3.5 million metric tons of sewage sludge waste to be "land applied" on farm land and forests throughout the United States.