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Stench in Stanardsville, VA

September 7, 2008

Early in the morning in August of 2005, I awoke to the sound of heavy machinery. I went outside to find the source and saw huge gondola-style trucks dumping something into the pastureland diagonally across from my home. The stench drove me inside to the bathroom where I lost my breakfast. I developed a splitting headache, the first in my 70 years. I remained nauseous, unable to eat for days. I contacted the EPA, the VA Dept. of Health, the local health department and finally the man who rented the pastureland. The message from all was identical, "Biosolids is a safe fertilizer." My body said otherwise.

I grow my food without the use of synthetic chemicals and do not use pesticides or herbicides. The overpowering odor disallowed me from working on my land for five weeks. I had been told that the smell would dissipate in a couple of days. Untrue. I tried masks of different types with minimal success. Not only was I unable to maintain my work schedule because of illness, but I watched with horror as the prevailing wind lifted the paraticulate matter of the sludge, made it airborne and settled it onto all of the properties in its path, including mine.

The more I researched this material, the more it became obvious that the product was unsafe, that the testing was inadequate, the information being given out was incomplete at best and evasive and erroneous at worst. It is my opinion that the practice of land applying sewage slude, including the chemical mix of industrial and hospital waste, MUST be discontinued.

Nancy Ford, Stanardsville VA