Greg Kester

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

Greg Kester is the Biosolids Program Manager for the California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA). He took the position in June 2007.[1]

Involvement with CASA in the Toxic Sludge Industry

In October 2011, 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, 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, he "works proactively with regulators, counties, biosolids generators and managers on biosolids issues. Greg served on the National Academies of Science [sic - "National Academy of Sciences"] Committee that produced the 2002 report 'Biosolids Land Application: Advancing Standards and Practices.'"[2]

Education and Experience

Kester earned his B.S. in civil and environmental engineering from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 1994 until 2007, he worked as the state residuals coordinator for the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. In that position, he oversaw "all aspects of Wisconsin’s biosolids program."[3] According to his biography:

"In that position, he has incorporated all necessary provisions of federal biosolids regulations, set policy for the Wisconsin biosolids program implemented by field engineers, and made determinations on the adequacy of solids-handling design. He developed and maintains a communication network for all state biosolids coordinators. The network provides a forum for the exchange of questions and dialogue on implementation, technical standards, and enforcement strategies. Mr. Kester has also been involved with a Wisconsin workgroup to develop risk-based soil criteria for PCBs."[4]

For 10 years prior to becoming an environmental engineer, Kester worked for 10 years as an operator and biosolids-reuse program worker for the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District. He has worked with wastewater treatment, engineering, farming, and biosolids management since 1973.

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  1. CASA Website Accessed October 8, 2010
  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. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices, Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land, Appendix A, National Research Council, ISBN: 0-309-57036-0, 368 pages, 6x9, (2002)
  4. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices, Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land, Appendix A, National Research Council, ISBN: 0-309-57036-0, 368 pages, 6x9, (2002)

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