Orange County Sanitation District

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

Orange County Sanitation District (OCSD) "operates the third largest wastewater agency west of the Mississippi River."[1] OCSD collects, treats, and disposes of or reclaims "the wastewater generated by 2.5 million people living and working in central and northwestern Orange County."

Promotion of Sewage Sludge as Fertilizer on Food Crops

OCSD avidly promotes the use of sewage sludge (renamed as "biosolids") as fertilizer for food crops. On its site, it said:[2]

"This centuries-old practice safely returns vital nutrients to the earth where they can begin their cycle again. Safety is rooted in modern treatment technologies, decades of demonstration, restrictive regulations, extremely low contaminant levels, and rigorous ongoing research.
"Farming with biosolids reduces the cost of fertilizers for farmers by about $150 per acre, while replacing or supplementing non-renewable chemical fertilizers. This is even more critical as the rising price of oil drives up the cost of chemical fertilizers for farmers.
"Biosolids builds healthy soils with organic matter (which helps soil act like a sponge to conserve water), macro and micro-nutrients, and beneficial microbes. The results are dramatic increases in crop yields as seen in these pictures.
"Besides all the benefits to the farmers, plants, and soils, recycling biosolids keeps them from taking up valuable landfill space, and keeps ratepayers sewer fees low since farming is a proven, low-cost technology.
"Orange County uses our biosolids on non-food crops like hay and cotton. Biosolids that are composted (further treatment) may be used on food crops as they have met the highest level of treatment for safety."

While it is true that humans have used human waste as fertilizer for centuries, it is not accurate to compare that to sewage sludge which, even after treatment to meet federal regulations, contains thousands of chemical and biological contaminants. OCSD's characterization of regulations as "restrictive" is not truthful, given the small number of chemicals and pathogens regulated in Class A or Class B biosolids compared to the large number of contaminants found in the EPA's own tests, the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey.


OCSD's management is as follows:[3]

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is "governed by a 25-member board of directors. The directors are comprised of elected representatives for each of the sewer agencies or cities within OCSD’s 471 square mile service area."[5]

Contact Information

  • Orange County Sanitation District[6]
  • Administration Offices
  • 10844 Ellis Avenue
  • Fountain Valley, CA 92708
  • Ph: (714) 962-2411
  • Email:
  • Web:

Articles and resources

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. OCSD - About Us, Orange County Sanitation District, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  2. Benefits of Biosolids: Orange County Biosolids and Compost Benefit Farmers, Soil, and Water, Orange County Sanitation District, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  3. Executive Management Team, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  4. General Manager, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  5. Board Members, Orange County Sanitation District, Accessed June 14, 2011.
  6. Contact Us, Orange County Sanitation District, Accessed June 14, 2011.

External resources

External articles

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