USDA Ordered to compensate Georgia farmer for contaminated cropland. Officials admit knowing that
sludge chemical contaminated milk had been sold to public since 1999.
EPA, USDA, FDA and CDC has actually promoted the use of toxic sewage sludge under a national policy on
lawns, gardens and food crops: by statement (1981), by policy (1984), and by regulation (1993). (EPA report
SW905, WH-595, 40 CFR 257 et al./503)
The Charlotte Observer
Sewage-based fertilizer safety doubted
By JOHN HEILPRIN and KEVIN S. VINEYS
Associated Press Writers
AUGUSTA, Ga. --
Posted on Thu, Mar. 06, 2008
Boyce told the AP that in January 1999 he informed Georgia dairy regulators and EPA that tests he had
ordered on the milk from his cows had come back showing high levels of thallium, molybdenum and
A top state official alerted the Food and Drug Administration, but Boyce said no one ever told him to stop selling his
milk or mentioned a possible threat to public health.
"We were a little startled," Boyce recalled. "They concluded that our permit was good, and we could continue to sell
milk. So we did."
"The Associated Press also has learned that some of the same contaminants showed up in milk that regulators
allowed a neighboring dairy farmer to market, even after some officials said they were warned about it."
"In one case, according to test results provided to the AP, the level of thallium - an element once used as
rat poison - found in the milk was 120 times the concentration allowed in drinking water by the
Environmental Protection Agency." "EPA lists thallium as a toxic heavy metal that can cause
gastrointestinal irritation and nerve damage,"
"The contaminated milk and the recent ruling by U.S. District Judge Anthony Alaimo raise new doubts about a 30-year
government policy that encourages farmers to spread millions of tons of sewage sludge over thousands of acres each
year as an alternative to commercial fertilizers."
"Alaimo ordered the government to compensate dairy farmer Andy McElmurray because 1,730 acres he
wanted to plant in corn and cotton to feed his herd was poisoned. The sludge contained levels of arsenic,
toxic heavy metals and PCBs two to 2,500 times federal health standards."
"Also, data endorsed by Agriculture and EPA officials about toxic heavy metals found in the free sludge
provided by Augusta's sewage treatment plant was "unreliable, incomplete, and in some cases, fudged,"
"The deaths of McElmurray's and Boyce's cows in the 1990s and their suits against Augusta raised a red
flag with officials at EPA, which since 1978 had been promoting the use of sludge as a fertilizer."
"In his 45-page ruling, Alaimo said that along with using the questionable data, "senior EPA officials took
extraordinary steps to quash scientific dissent, and any questioning of EPA's biosolids program."
IN THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE MIDDLE DISTRICT OF GEORGIA ATHENS DIVISION UNITED
STATES OF AMERICA, *ex rel. DAVID L. LEWIS, PH.D.; R.A. McELMURRAY, III; and * G. WILLIAM BOYCE, *
CASE NO. 3:06-CV-16(CDL) JOHN WALKER, PH.D.; JULIA W. *GASKIN; ROBERT B. BROBST; WILLIAM P.
MILLER, PH.D.; * E. WILLIAM TOLLNER, PH.D; L. MARK RISSE, PH.D.; THE BOARD * OF REGENTS OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA; THE UNIVERSITY OF *GEORGIA RESEARCH FOUNDATION, INC.; and JOHN DOE(S), *