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SF poised to give away toxic compost to residents
by Betty
Thursday Sep 24th, 2009 10:23 PM
San Francisco’s free “compost” is not traditional compost at all, but instead combines sewage sludge (a toxic product of waste water treatment) with green waste, yard waste and wood chips.
sludge.jpg
The City of San Francisco’s Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) hosts biannual “Compost Giveaway Events” every spring and fall in which the City offers the residents free “compost.” Compost, the bedrock of organic agriculture, traditionally offers a way for a farmer or gardener to turn food scraps and manure into a nutrient rich soil amendment. San Francisco’s free “compost” is not traditional compost at all, but instead combines sewage sludge (a toxic product of waste water treatment) with green waste, yard waste and wood chips.

While seemingly innocuous or even environmentally beneficial, these compost giveaway events are distributing toxic compost to community gardens, school gardens and local residents because the “compost” distributed by the SFPUC is made with sewage sludge. Sewage sludge is shown by EPA and others to contain heavy metals, pathogens, pharmaceuticals, PCB’s, flame retardants and endocrine disruptors. Numerous additional organic pollutants are present in US sludge samples, such as polybrominated diphenal ethers (PBDEs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, DDT degradation products, chlordadanes, synthetic musk products, triclosan, and tributytin.

The SFPUC also claims that biosolids are “non-hazardous and nontoxic.” Yet, upon request, the only test result provided by the SFPUC is a metals analysis of Synargo - Central Valley Compost. No toxic analysis or other data about the hazardous contents of the sludge are provided!

Residents may be led to believe that the City’s sludge compost is “organic.” The USDA’s National Organic Program’s (NOP) regulations, however, strictly forbid the use of sewage sludge as a fertilizer or soil amendment, no matter if it is composted or otherwise “treated.” This “compost” is by no means organic.

The next SFPUC compost giveaway is September 26, 2009. The Center for Food Safety and the Resource Institute for Low Entropy Systems filed a petition with Gavin Newsom, San Francisco’s Mayor and Ed Harrington, General Manager of SFPUC yesterday asking them to immediately and permanently suspend the sewage sludge compost giveaways.
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
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TITLE AUTHOR DATE
free compost? any takers?composterTuesday Nov 17th, 2009 9:19 AM
Biosolids Waste In Nevada not allowed for food cropsSLUDGEFriday Sep 25th, 2009 3:38 PM
SF Biosolids Compost is Safe, Tested and Great for Plants!Tony Winnicker, SFPUCFriday Sep 25th, 2009 12:06 PM
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