Neil Zahradka

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Neil Zahradka is the Manager of the Office of Land Application Programs for the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.[1] "Land application" means spreading sewage sludge -- euphemistically called "biosolids" -- on soil. Zahradka is also the Virginia state contact for the National Biosolids Partnership of the Water Environment Federation, the sewage sludge industry's main trade, lobby and public relations organization.[2]

Zahradka is a proponent of using sewage sludge on soil used to grow food. He told NPR in 2013 that it's hard to prove that "biosolids" are a significant source of contaminants. "These compounds are ubiquitous in the environment -- in the soil, water, within our bodies. So the question is: If it's in the biosolids, then is that a problem?" he asked. And he contended that "composting" -- mixing raw sewage with mulch and allowing the pile to heat up -- eliminates contaminants.[3] But sewage sludge contains many hazardous chemicals that could not be mitigated by what the industry refers euphemistically to as a "composting" process. See Scientific Studies of Sewage Sludge for more.

Contact Information

Neil Zahradka

Manager, Office of Land Application Programs

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

629 E. Main Street

P.O. Box 1105

Richmond, VA 23218-1105

Telephone: (804) 698-4102

Fax: (804) 698-4116

Email: nrzahradka AT deq DOT virginia DOT gov

Articles and Resources

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  1. Neil Zahradka,, online career profile, accessed May 2013.
  2. Water Environment Federation, Region 3: Virginia State Contacts, organizational website, accessed May 2013.
  3. Eliza Barclay, Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?, NPR "The Salt" blog, May 12, 2013.
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