Victims of sewage sludge

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This article is part of the Food Rights Network, a project of the Center for Media and Democracy. Find out more here.

Victims of sewage sludge are many. In March 2013, a study involving neighbors of land where sewage sludge had been dumped -- "living in rural and semi­rural areas within approximately one mile of sewage sludge land application sites in North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia" -- found that "over half of respondents attributed physical symptoms to application events." More specifically, "Over half (18/34) of the interview respondents associated acute physical symptoms that lasted a short period of time with sludge application events near their home (Table 1). The most commonly reported symptoms were eye, nose, and throat irritations and gastrointestinal symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhea). Other symptoms reported by more than one respondent include cough, difficulty breathing, sinus congestion or drainage, and skin infections or sores."[1]

Anti-Sewage Sludge Dumping Activist Maintains Website of "Sludge Victims" is a website maintained by anti-sewage sludge dumping activist Helane Shields. It is "an educational website dedicated to sewage sludge victims."[2]

Sludge News Collects Victims' Personal Stories

The website posts personal stories, asking, "are you a victim of the "land application" of sewage sludge? Do you live near a farm on which sewage sludge has been spread? Has your health or the health of your family been harmed by sludge? Are you a farmer who has lost livestock to sludge? Do you have pets which have been made sick or have died from sludge? Are you a gardener or landscaper who has used sludge and who has subsequently become sick? Have you been stonewalled by local and state agencies in your search for answers about sludge disposal practices where you live? Have you tried to change the rules? Do you have a sludge story you would like to tell the Senate committee investigating the practice of disposing of of sewage sludge on farmland? Upload your testimony and share your sludge story... ." You can read some of the person testimony posted to the site.[3]

Articles and Resources

Related SourceWatch Articles

External Resources


  1. Amy Lowman, Mary Anne McDonald, Steve Wing, and Naeema Muhammad, "Land Application of Treated Sewage Sludge: Community Health and Environmental Justice," Environmental Health Perspectives, March 11, 2013 (online).
  2. Sludge Victims, activist website, accessed July 1, 2010.
  3. SludgeNews website visiting June 17, 2010.
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