The guest column by Jim Hecht of Synagro ("Get the facts on Synagro/Green Knight plan," Feb. 23), appears to be based on alternative facts. The letter is part of the Environmental Protection Agency's multimillion-dollar, taxpayer-funded public acceptance campaign. It has been known for decades, and recently confirmed, that the current U.S. biosolids regulations do not protect human health, agriculture or the environment.Synagro Technologies presented a sample of Class A biosolids pellets to the Plainfield Township Planning Commission on Nov. 21, 2016.John Best | lehighvalleylive.com contributor
Yet top managers at EPA's Office of Water and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, who wrote the unprotective rules, will not admit they made a mistake and they continue to work with Synagro and regional biosolids coordinators to spread myths about this harmful practice.
For example, the judicious use of non-CAFO manures from family farms has never caused any harm. It is a thousand-year-old practice that replenishes soil. Biosolids, on the other hand, permanently degrade soil. Hecht's blanket statement that biosolids are cleaner than the dirt in people's backyard is another myth. So is his claim that biosolids are environmentally safer than the judicious use of nitrogen fertilizer. Check out additional myths about biosolids.
Fortunately, there is a growing movement to explore much safer and more sustainable options for sludge use, such as using this material as a source of renewable energy and heat. Getting sludge off our farms and forests will protect human health, livestock, groundwater and wildlife. It is especially crucial that we preserve our dwindling arable soil for future generations, and not use this precious resource as a depository of industrial hazardous waste. To get the real facts, visit www.biosolidsfacts.org.
Emeritus professor in environmental science, Rochester Institute of Technology North Sandwich, N.H.
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