Austep SPA is "an engineering company, specialised in design and construction, operating and control of wastewater treatments, water reuse, water provisioning and soil remediation." A "water industry" trade site lists Austep as "Manufacturers of Wastewater Treatment and Sludge Reduction Systems for Water Reuse Provisioning."
Austep's list of projects includes four biogas plants under construction in 2010 that use as their feedstock "sewage and corn biomasses."
Toxic Sludge Gasification Controversy
"[W]astewater treatments, water reuse, water provisioning and soil remediation," "sludge reduction" and "sewage biomass" all refer to Toxic sludge. EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman has called gasification, or using sludge to generate methanol or energy, the "most environmentally sound approach, but also the most expensive," to sludge disposal. However, anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge, while it reduces the volume of the sludge and heats it to a temperature that kills many pathogens, still leaves behind what the industry calls "digestate" or, more specifically in this case, "biosolids." These "Class A Biosolids" (so-called because the Environmental Protection Agency has stricter limits on pathogens and "vector attraction" for Class A than for Class B Biosolids, i.e. they must not attract disease-carrying insects or rodents, etc.) still contain other sludge contaminants, including Dioxins and Furans, Flame Retardants, Metals, Organochlorine Pesticides, 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP), Naphthalene, Triclosan, Nonylphenols, Phthalates, Nanosilver, and thousands more substances.
The EPA's 2009 Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) concluded that all sewage sludge, Class A, Class B or otherwise, contains toxic and hazardous materials, including large numbers of endocrine disruptors. The TNSSS results are described in two EPA reports published in 2009. EPA found that dozens of hazardous materials, not regulated and not required to be tested for, have been documented in each and every one of the sludge samples EPA took around the USA. And yet Class A "Biosolids" may be applied to cropland with no restrictions and sold or given away to gardeners as "organic fertilizers," and hundreds of municipalities and companies do so.
Participant at 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling"
Austep was a participant in the 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling." BioCycle Magazine is a publication serving the interests of the sewage sludge industry.
Other SourceWatch Resources
- Austep (Extant Environmental Solutions), EnvironmentalExpert.com, environmental industry group website, accessed November 3, 2011
- IDS Water, Wastewater Treatment Products, water industry resource website, accessed November 3, 2011
- Austep, Referenze, corporate website, accessed November 3, 2011
- Environmental Protection Agency, TNSSS: EPA-822-R-08-016 and EPA-822-R-08-018, January 2009
- BioCycle, Exhibitor Directory, publisher's website, accessed November 3, 2011
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