Inland Empire Utilities Agency

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

Inland Empire Utilities Agency (IEUA) is in the forefront of producing "compost" for gardens and farms that is composed of sewage sludge, or biosolids as the industry calls it, an invented PR term. Its sewage sludge is sold especially through Kellogg Garden Products.

According to its website "was formed in 1950 to supply supplemental water to the region. Since its formation, the Agency has expanded its areas of responsibility from a supplemental water supplier to a regional wastewater treatment agency with domestic and industrial disposal systems and energy recovery/production facilities. In addition, the Agency has become a recycled water purveyor, biosolids/fertilizer treatment provider and continues as a leader in water supply salt management, for the purpose of protecting the regions vital groundwater supplies."[1]

Sewage Sludge from Inland Used in Kellogg Garden Products, Scott's Hyponex

In July, 2004, the "Facilities Plan Volume 1: Wastewater Management" was published by the City of Los Angeles, Department of Public Works, Bureau of Sanitation and Department of Water and Power. (Attached as a PDF here: [2]) In examining the use of sewage sludge products sold on store shelves, it states:

  • "Thirty-six facilities produce over 1.6 million tons per year of compost products throughout southern California.

These companies take in over 2.5 million tons per year of raw material that is processed into these products. ... The products are sold in displays featuring the products as topsoil or soil amendments. A total of eleven compost product manufacturers and suppliers are known to be operating in the local retail marketplace. Several of these manufacturers supply products to K-Mart, Target, and Wal-Mart for their own in-house promotion and brand. Of these manufacturers, three firms, Kellogg Garden Products, Western Organics, and Scott’s Hyponex, utilize biosolids in their product formulations. The biosolids portion of the Southern California marketplace appears to be dominated by Kellogg Garden Products. Of the eight different products produced by Kellogg, seven contained composted biosolids. ... A significant portion of the biosolids used by Kellogg and Scott’s Hyponex is obtained from the Inland Empire Utility Agency’s existing compost manufacturing facility. (emphasis added) The relative quantities of biosolids-based compost moving through the distribution chain of these two companies remains proprietary information." (Pages 64-65)

The City of Los Angeles looks at the PR problems associated with growing food in sewage sludge ("biosolids"):

  • "Since farming is such a low margin industry, it would be unlikely that a farm would use biosolids in the face of any public pressure. Any stigma attached to the farmer’s food would lower the price they could charge for its produce. For this market to be effective public protest and perception would have to be controlled. Segments of the public may be particularly unwilling to allow biosolids used in production of their food. (emphasis added) They are concerned about any potential contamination or diseases

In a July 2010 article in BioCycle magazine [3], Rich Flammer and Jeff Ziegenbein called the IEUA, "A Megacomposting Success Story," admitting that, "More than 15 cities representing over one million residents participate in this 'take back' program," by being sold toxic sludge-laced compost through IEUA's value-added product SoilPro Premium Compost. SoilPro is sold to Kellogg Garden Products and local cities and towns. "SoilPro sales staff network with prospective customers through tradeshows and workshops, and has also worked closely with local cities that provide feedstock to the facility to encourage them to purchase and use the finished compost," Flammer and Ziegenbeing wrote.

The authors, Rich Flammer and Jeff Ziegenbein, are sludge industry proponents. Flammer is the principal for Hidden Resources, a composting consulting business in the San Diego area. Ziegenbein is the Deputy Manager of Operations and Organics for the IEUA and he is in charge of the International Compost Awareness Week for the US Composting Council according to the USCC website.

Industries discharging sewage into Inland sewers

"As of June 30, 2006, there are 42 companies having discharge pipeline connection to the NRWS. These companies include many well-known industries such as California Steel Industries, Inc.; Coca-Cola Company; Temple-Inland, Inc.; Mission Linen and Uniform Service; James Hardie Building Products, Inc.; Frito Lay, Inc.; Cintas Corp.; and Sunkist Growers, Inc. In addition, there are about 12 companies that transport their wastewater to the NRWS discharge stations" [4]

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


External resources

External articles

"A Megacomposting Success Story", BioCycle Magazine, July 2010. Accessed March 30, 2011, via LexisNexis.

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