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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

AllGro is a product sold as fertilizer but made from sewage sludge.[1][2] It is produced by the company Synagro. Hundreds of communities across the U.S. sell toxic sludge products that are typically renamed biosolids and sold or given away as "fertilizer" or "compost" (and often even labeled or marketed as "natural" or "organic"). Sludge products made by Synagro include AllGro, Granulite, and EarthBlends. Synagro also produced the sludge compost that was given out by San Francisco, labeled as "free organic biosolids compost." Synagro, owned by the Carlyle Group, is the largest marketer, processor, and hauler of sludge.[3]

AllGro Marketed as Organic and Sustainable

AllGro is marketed on its website as "organic" and "promoting environment sustainability," even though USDA organic standards specifically prohibit the use of sewage sludge in organic agriculture, and despite the documented presence of many environmental contaminants commonly found in sewage sludge.[4] AllGro is advertised as "a high quality humus material free of pathogens and weed seeds," intended for use as potting soil, turfgrass, and topsoil, and on athletic fields and golf courses.

Synagro's AllGro Company

According to Sludge News, the following appeared in Synagro's 2006 annual report:[5]

“In 1992, we [Synagro] formed the OPMG (Organic Product Marketing Group) to market composted and pelletized biosolids from our own facilities as well as municipally owned facilities. OPMG currently markets in excess of 982,000 cubic yards of compost and 121,000 tons of pelletized biosolids annually. OPMG markets a majority of its biosolids products under the trade names Granulite Company and AllGro Company. Based on our experience, OPMG is capable of marketing biosolids products to the highest paying markets. In 2006, we marketed 121,000 tons or approximately 39 percent of the heat-dried pellets produced in the United States. We also marketed 500,000 tons of compost, which we believe is significantly more than any other producer of municipal based compost materials.” (2006 annual report, Synagro.)"

Production and Marketing of AllGro in New Jersey

In 1996, the Burlington County Board of Chosen Freeholders (of Burlington County, NJ) "contracted with Synagro for the design, construction and operation of an advanced in-vessel agitated bin co-composting facility that processes biosolids [sewage sludge], shredded wood, and other organic wastes to produce an exceptional-quality compost."[6] The facility is located in Florence Township at the Burlington County Resource Recovery Complex. At the time when this program was written up for the site (which is not stated on the site), it received up to 200 wet tons of sludge from 14 wastewater treatment plants per day, with a capacity to handle 53,000 wet tons per year. It produced 185 dry tons per week, which was then mixed with 400 dry tons of "compostable waste organic materials." The resulting product is marketed as "AllGro" in Burlington County. It is now used in country club golf courses, schools, and athletic fields, among other places.[7]

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  1. AllGro Website, Accessed June 16, 2010.]
  2. Marie Kulik, Sewage Sludge Based Fertilizer Products, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy.
  3. Branded Products Containing Sewage Sludge, Sludge News, Accessed November 11, 2010.
  4. AllGro Website, Accessed November 11, 2010.]
  5. Branded products containing sewage sludge, Sludge News, Accessed November 11, 2010.
  6. Composting/Northeast: Co-Compost Facility Meets Multiple Objectives,, Accessed November 11, 2010.
  7. PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS: Turf Grass and Lawns, Agresource Inc, Accessed November 11, 2010.

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