PART 503 SLUDGE RULE
Original 1993 Part 503 Sludge Use and Disposal Rule searchable copy
The Part 503 Sludge Rule is unique in five ways: 1) it is based on EPA Policy and exclusions in the Clean Water Act
(CWA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), and the Supefund Act (CERCLA); 2) it only addresses
the pollutants in part 403 G for which pollution removal credits are allowed -- with the exception of chromium, which
was removed from the beneficial use section of Part 503; 3) Part 503.13 ceiling levels of metals in exception quality
Class A sludge can not be disposed of within 75 meters of a permitted part 503.23 surface disposal boundary line; 4)
a cancer risk assessment was never done for chemicals, toxic metals or pathogens; and 5) EPA bases the safety of
sludge on a mutant bacteria that only grows at a very high temperature -- long after you are dead.
EPA claims if you consider sludge to be a normal application of fertilizer then it does not matter if it is a a
solid waste by law or a hazardous waste which may "(A) cause, or significantly contribute to an increase in
mortality or an increase in serious irreversible, or incapacitating reversible, illness; or (B) pose a
substantial present or potential hazard to human health or the environment when improperly treated,
stored, transported, or disposed of, or otherwise managed."
Congress never intended for the Clean Water Act (CWA) to be the primary enforcement tool for the
regulation of sludge
"(1) Purpose - This section was not intended to be primary source of regulation of sludge but was intended
as cautionary measure to provide additional protection against dangers to navigable waters caused by disposal
methods unregulated by section 1311 of this title, i.e. careless land disposal and deep ocean dumping of
sludge from vessels. ---" (Title 33, part 1345, note 1)
It is the EPA's position that exposure to hazardous chemicals and infectious disease causing pathogens on land may
cause death, disease etc. to humans, Yet, in part 503.9 these same chemicals and pathogens on land only cause
death, disease etc. to organisms. Is this a deliberate effort to confuse the public and politicians who may not realize
humans and animals fall into the broad definition of organisms.
503.9(t) Pollutant is an organic substance, an inorganic substance, a combination of organic and
inorganic substances, or a pathogenic organism that, after discharge and upon exposure, ingestion,
inhalation, or assimilation into an organism either directly from the environment or indirectly by ingestion
through the food chain, could, on the basis of information available to the Administrator of EPA, cause
death, disease, behavioral abnormalities, cancer, genetic mutations, physiological malfunctions
(including malfunction in reproduction), or physical deformations in either organisms (humans) or
offspring (children) of the organisms.
In 1989, EPA did list a number of cancer causing pollutants known to be in sludge in the Preamble to the proposed
Part 503. Five were carcinogenic when inhaled. This list was removed from the 1993 final Part 503 Policy regulation.
In 1995, EPA admitted its human health risk assessment for 14 pathways of exposure from pollutants was a fraud.
It would appear EPA completely ignored information from the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry
503.13 pollutants in sludge for beneficial use -- chromium was removed in 1995
503_arsenic Arsenic-- Evidence for Human Carcinogenicity
503_cadmium high levels of cadmium can severely damage the lungs and may cause death
503_copper high intakes of copper can cause liver and kidney damage and even death.
503_lead. Did you know the following facts about lead? EPA DOES!
503_manganese. How can manganese affect children -- and you?
503_mercury.l Bacteria in soils and sediments convert mercury to methylmercury. In this form, it is taken up by tiny aquatic
503_nickel chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, and cancer of the lung and nasal sinus, have occurred in people who
503_selenium Dizziness, fatigue, and irritation of mucous membranes have been reported in people exposed to selenium
503_zinc Inhaling large amounts of zinc (as zinc dust) can cause a specific short-term disease called metal fume fever
Did EPA set out to kill people based on a lack of data? EPA has always admitted to a lack of data on chemicals. Yet, EPA funded a Public
relations campaign to convince the public and politicians sludge was safe. EPA lied to the public and politicians when it said it was
ordered by a federal court to remove chromium from the regulation. EPA actually told the court it had no reliable research on
chromium. EPA could lie about its beneficial use sludge policy -- but it could not lie about the actually surface disposal requirements of
Part 503 which required an honest permit.
503.23 pollutants regulated (permitted) in sludge surface disposal site.
503_arsenic-- Evidence for Human Carcinogenicity
503_Chromium Hexavalent Chromium is created by raising pH.
503_nickel chronic bronchitis, reduced lung function, and cancer of the lung and nasal sinus, have occurred
In evaluating pathogens in sludge biosolids EPA chose a high temperature thermotolerant mutant strain of E. coli that
grow at a temperature of 112.1 degree F. That is long after you are dead. Therefore, they are not fecal, but are in
fact a mutant strain of E. coli created for manufacturing purposes. EPA also neglects to mentions the bacteria double
every 20 minutes. EPA added food crops to the feed crop and fiber crop 30 day harvest restriction allowing all crops
to be sludged. To prevent pathogen regrowth, even Class A is required to be injected below the surface or covered
the same day it leaves the treatment process. Yet, EPA allows sludge to be left on the surface or even sprayed into
the air. Isn't this fraud since EPA knows the test does not indicate the number of dangerous pathogens that are in
sludge, which can cause death, disease, etc?
503.32 (3) Class A—Alternative 1. (i) Either the density of fecal coliform in the sewage sludge shall be less
than 1000 Most Probable Number per gram of total solids (dry weight basis), or the density of
Salmonella sp. bacteria in the sewage sludge shall be less than three Most Probable Number per four
grams of total solids (dry weight basis) at the time the sewage sludge is used or disposed; at the time
the sewage sludge is prepared for sale or give away in a bag or other container for application to the
land; or at the time the sewage sludge or material derived from sewage sludge is prepared to meet the
requirements in §503.10 (b), (c), (e), or (f).
(2) Class B—Alternative 1. (i) Seven representative samples of the sewage sludge that is used or
disposed shall be collected.
(ii) The geometric mean of the density of fecal coliform in the samples collected in paragraph (b)(2)(i)
of this section shall be less than either 2,000,000 Most Probable Number per gram of total solids (dry
weight basis) or 2,000,000 Colony Forming Units per gram of total solids (dry weight basis).
(4) (iv) Food crops, feed crops, and fiber crops shall not be harvested for 30 days after application of
503.34 Bacteria Regrowth prevention
(b)(9)(i) Sewage sludge shall be injected below the surface of the land.
(ii) No significant amount of the sewage sludge shall be present on the land surface within one hour after the sewage
sludge is injected.
(iii) When the sewage sludge that is injected below the surface of the land is Class A with respect to pathogens, the
sewage sludge shall be injected below the land surface within eight hours after being discharged from the pathogen
(10)(i) Sewage sludge applied to the land surface or placed on an active sewage sludge unit shall be incorporated into
the soil within six hours after application to or placement on the land, unless otherwise specified by the permitting
(ii) When sewage sludge that is incorporated into the soil is Class A with respect to pathogens, the sewage sludge
shall be applied to or placed on the land within eight hours after being discharged from the pathogen treatment
Law Review -- Unsafe sewage sludge or beneficial biosolids?: Liability, planning, and management issues
regarding the land application of sewage treatment residuals