California Association of Sanitation Agencies

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

The California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) is a California coalition of a number of cities and wastewater treatment organizations within the state. CASA activity promotes the use of sewage sludge as fertilizer.[1]

2011 Promotion of the Toxic Sludge Industry

In October 2011, CASA Biosolids Program Manager Greg Kester spoke at the 2011 BioCycle "11th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling" in Middleton, Wisconsin, on a panel entitled "Codigestion at Wastewater Treatment Plants," along with other sewage sludge industry representatives. His segment was entitled, "Regulating FOGs [(Fats, Oils and Grease)], Food Waste Codigestion at California WWTPs" (Waste Water Treatment Plants).[2] BioCycle Magazine is a publication serving the interests of the sewage sludge industry. The Center for Media and Democracy attended the panel.

CASA supports deregulation of the sewage sludge industry.

According to Kester, the California state regulatory body CalRecycle defines compost by temperature rather than by process (e.g., processing organic materials at temperatures above 122 degrees F is compost), and therefore anaerobic digesters (AD) which operate at these temperatures are subject to their composting regulations. In addition, CalRecycle may also now require anaerobic digesters operating at temperatures below 122 degrees F to obtain "a Solid Waste Transfer Station Process Facility Permit if they're receiving any haul-in waste that would normally be conveyed to the sewer lines. So this obviously includes FOG, food waste and, one can even argue, septage." CASA argues that publicly owned treatment works (POTWs) are already regulated for this kind of process under water and air permits, and that the resulting "patch quilt regulatory landscape will provide a real disincentive for increased receipt of this material, and it's really unnecessary."

The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) process, he said, is lengthy, expensive and public. CASA also opposes California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) regulation of anaerobic digesters under proposed rendering regulations and has provided comment to CDFA requesting an exemption for POTWs. CASA's objective is a blanket exemption for FOG/food waste in digesters (along with sewage sludge, this is called "codigestion").

FOGs (Fats, Oils and Grease) increase the energy production capability of anaerobic digesters, but these fats are then included in the output, what is called the "digestate"-- i.e. toxic sludge. Toxic sludge is already contaminated with such hazardous chemicals and pathogens as Dioxins and Furans, Flame Retardants, Metals, Organochlorine Pesticides, 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP), Naphthalene, Triclosan, Nonylphenols, Phthalates, Nanosilver, and thousands more substances.

According to Kester's biography in the conference program, "CASA represents more than 90 percent of the sewered population of California."[2]

Involvement in San Francisco Sludge Controversy

In March 2010, CASA sent a letter of support to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission in favor of its sewage sludge compost giveaway program.[3]

CASA Board


Contact Information

  • California Association of Sanitation Agencies
  • 1215 K Street, Suite 2290
  • Sacramento, CA 95814
  • Phone: (916) 446-0388
  • Fax: (916) 231-2141
  • Web:

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. "Biosolids Program," CASA website
  2. 2.0 2.1 BioCycle, "11th Annual Conference on Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling" Program, October 31-November 2, 2011, on file with CMD (part, but not the biographies, is online here)
  3. "CASA - Letter of Support for SFPUC's Biosolids Compost Program"

External resources

External articles

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