Merrell Brothers is a nationwide biosolids management company. They help municipalities, industries, and agricultural operations recycle biosolids that are sold as fertilizer but made from toxic sewage sludge. Hundreds of communities across the U.S. sell toxic sludge products that are typically renamed biosolids and sold or given away as "organic fertlizer" or "organic compost."
Sewage sludge is the growing and continuous mountain of hazardous waste produced daily by wastewater treatment plants. Thousands of hazardous organisms, materials and synthetic compounds removed from sewer water end up in this mountain of sludge. For up-to-date articles on the subject see the website Sludge News at http://www.sludgenews.org/about/ . The sewage sludge industry has created a PR euphemism it uses in place of the words 'sewage sludge': biosolids.
- 1 Toxic Sewage Sludge Given Away as "Organic Biosolids Compost"
- 2 EPA 2009 Toxic Sewage Sludge Survey
- 3 2008 Report from IATP
- 4 Environmental Working Group 1998 Reports on Toxic Sewage Sludge
- 5 Articles and resources
Toxic Sewage Sludge Given Away as "Organic Biosolids Compost"
In 2009 a major controversy erupted in San Francisco when the Center for Food Safety and the Organic Consumers Association called on the SFPUC to end its give-away of toxic sewage sludge as free "organic biosolids compost" to gardeners. A March 4, 2010, demonstration at City Hall by the OCA forced a temporary halt to the program. (See articles below)   The misleading labeled "organic compost," which the PUC has given away free to gardeners since 2007, is composed of toxic sewage sludge from San Francisco and eight other counties. Very little toxicity testing has been done, but what little has been done is alarming. Just the sludge from San Francisco alone has tested positive for 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (a.k.a. DBCP), Isopropyltoluene (a.k.a. p-cymene or p-isopropyltoluene), Dioxins and Furans. 
EPA 2009 Toxic Sewage Sludge Survey
Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey 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. 
2008 Report from IATP
- Marie Kulick, Smart Guide on Sludge Use and Food Production, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2008.
Environmental Working Group 1998 Reports on Toxic Sewage Sludge
- Environmental Working Group, Dumping Sewage Sludge On Organic Farms? Why USDA Should Just Say No, April, 1998.
- Environmental Working Group, Routes of Exposure sewage sludge: EWG Research on Chemicals in sewage sludge, April 30, 1998.
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch articles
- Sewage sludge
- Sewage sludge giveaways, producers, and brands
- The EPA's plan to bypass opposition to sewage sludge disposal
- Water Environment Federation
- You say biosolids, I say sewage sludge
- Merrell Brothers,Website accessed April 13, 2011.
- Heather Knight, Nonprofit calls PUC's compost toxic sludge, San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2009.
- Barry Estabrook, Free Compost--Or Toxic Sludge?, The Atlantic, December 1, 2009
- Anna Werner, Concern Over SF Compost Made from Sewage Sludge, CBS Channel 5, March 3, 2010
- Leora Broydo Vestel, http://greeninc.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/04/09/food-groups-clash-over-compost-sludge/ Food Groups Clash Over Compost Sludge, New York Times Green Inc. blog, April 9 2010.
- Chris Roberts, Farmers Call PUC's Shit, Will Dump it on City Hall Today, San Francisco Appeal, March 4, 2010.
- Jill Richardson, What San Francisco Found in Their Own Sludge, La Vida Locavore blog, April 8, 2010.
- [www.http://epa.gov/waterscience/biosolids TNSSS: EPA-822-R-08-016 and EPA-822-R-08-018]. Published by EPA, January 2009.
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