Notes on the Atrocities
Like a 100-watt radio station, broadcasting to the dozens...

Thursday, March 04, 2004  

Orwellian Update

A couple of weeks ago, Bush defied my satire and suggested reclassifying burger-flippers as "manufacturers." This won't create jobs, but it will give the industrial sector a hell of a bump. We also watched as reducing pollution controls was cast as the "Clean Skies" initiative, and logging proposals "Healthy Forests." Along those lines, now toxic sludge will be called "compost:"

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing that the government's definition of compost include sewage sludge. The rule change is couched in a December 10, 2003 Federal Register notice about proposed revisions to the Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG). It would consolidate all compost designations under one item called "compost made from recovered organic materials."

I'm sure things get reclassified all the time. We would hope that government agencies make these changes based on meeting their public-service objectives. To be clear, this is not one of those changes--it's political. Again.

The EPA's preferred method of disposal of sewage sludge in the United States is land application. To get the public to accept this has required a concerted effort from government and the sludge-industry to make the public think that sludge is "organic," "nutrient-rich," and otherwise "beneficial." Calling sludge "compost" is the agency's latest trick. The proposal here to "compost" sludge is based on the dependable presence of human feces in sludge. Human feces do indeed consist largely of organic matter. But sludge consists only partly of human feces.

It is the purpose of wastewater treatment to extract from sewage-and to concentrate in sludge-all the pollutants in wastewater. The intended product of wastewater treatment is clean water. Sludge is the inevitable byproduct that, by definition and intention, consists of every waste material a given wastewater treatment plant is capable of removing, or is incidentally removed, from the sewage in the process of treating the wastewater. This means that, besides human urine and feces, tens of thousands of chemicals-organic and inorganic, teratogenic and carcinogenic, toxic and estrogen mimicking-will be present in the sludge.

I guess you could call this another pile of shit from the GOP.

posted by Jeff | 8:17 AM |
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