The following letter was sent from OSFR President Mike Roth. The deadline is Monday, July 29. Please send a short email to register your opposition to this harmful and unhealthy practice.
Comments by OSFR historian Jim Tatum.
-A river is like a life: once taken, it cannot be brought back-
Our Santa Fe River, Inc.
2070 SW CR 138 Fort White, FL 32038
July 22, 2019
Florida Department of Environmental Protection
Att: Kristin Gousse
By email: Kristin.Gousse@dep.state.fl.us
Re: Biosolids application
It is our understanding that the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is in the process of reviewing management practices and potential nutrient impacts related to the land application of biosolids. Insofar as it has been documented that there are severe health ramifications of the spreading of human sewage sludge for at least the last decade, we are happy to hear that the Department is revisiting the related rules.
The process itself is damaging to human health. In-depth interviews with those living near sludge application sites have revealed eye, nose and throat irritations, gastrointestinal symptoms, breathing difficulties and skin infections, among other ailments. Researchers have found statistically higher reports of such symptoms near biosolids permitted fields. These symptoms have been noted after exposure to winds blowing from treated fields. The fact that wastewater treatment plant sludge contains pathogens and antibiotics from sources such as homes, hospitals and industry lead to the development of antibiotic resistant pathogens which are an acknowledged international health crisis.
Taking this a step further, the permits for biosolids applications in or near a wetlands area where filtration into the aquifer is a regular occurring phenomenon set the stage for additional contamination of our rivers, streams and aquifer, and by extension public water supplies. In this regard, protection of the public coupled with the cautionary principle would dictate the banning of the spreading of human sewage sludge.
In addition, the regulation of the process, if still allowed despite its obvious catastrophic potential, would have to be revamped to ensure that the methods and the timing of the physical applications be done subject to specific rules which result in minimum spreading of airborne pathogens and minimum chance of aquifer contamination due to rain events, etc. This would need to be closely monitored by the Department. If strict oversight is not fiscally expedient, then the process should be banned.
We urge you to take this opportunity to meet your mission of protecting the environment and the public to end this crude and dangerous process.
Very truly yours,
Michael J. Roth, President Our Santa Fe River, Inc.
A Florida 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Corporation EIN 42-1756985 FDACS Registration #CH41570
A COPY OF THE OFFICIAL REGISTRATION AND FINANCIAL INFORMATION MAY BE OBTAINED FROM THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER SERVICES BY CALLING TOLL-FREE WITHIN THE STATE. REGISTRATION DOES NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT, APPROVAL OR RECOMMENDATION BY THE STATE. 1-800-HELP-FLA (800-435-7352) OR (OUTSIDE STATE) (850) 410-3800.
Our Santa Fe River, Inc.