For those who know me, this has been an ongoing occurrence over the last... about 15 years. During this time I have shared my woes with anyone who will listen. I was surprised to find out just how many of those people had no idea what sludge even is.
Anything that you flush down your toilet, wash down your sink, drain from your tub, pour into street sewer drains, run through your disposal, whether it be water/food/household cleansers/body products/prescriptions/human or animal feces/body fluids/heavy metals... the list goes on... ends up in sludge. Anything that businesses put into the sewage system, businesses that include hospitals and funeral homes to hair salons, etc., that ends up in sludge. The wastewater treatment plant makes a big ol' nasty soup of it all. Then they drain this toxic mess and load these concentrated solids into the backs of their big red dumptrucks. Those trucks drive out into rural areas and dump it on to land owner's properties. Not unknowingly, of course. They pay them a lovely little sum for letting them "rent" their property as a dumping/spreading site. They tell people it is completely safe. In my opinion, all the landowners really want to hear is the sound of the pen writing out the paycheck.
There are actually guidelines to be followed when they spread sludge. I can tell you that that doesn't mean anything at all. We have proof of that. My husband and I took a tape measure and we started from our well water cap and measured across the road to right behind our mailbox where we saw the first clumps of sludge that had been spread. Mind you, this is where they'd always spread the sludge up to - right behind our mailbox. I don't recall the exact numbers, but I do recall they were at least 60 feet closer to our well than they were supposed to be, and that it'd been done that way at least 7 years already.
Whoa! Wait a minute, you say! Contact the MN Pollution Control Agency! Guess what. They support this practice. I was even told, "prove it" when I voiced my concern that the sludge spreading could be contaminating my well water at the very least. I don't know about you but I don't have $$ to do all the testing that should have been done. The sad part is that they know that, too.
Last summer I made a pretty little sign and posted it at the end of my driveway. I'd appreciate it if everyone pops in at the site featured on the sign to learn more about this problem that isn't happening just here in Minnesota. It's all over this country. Next time you see piles out in a field similar to the ones in the above photo, don't assume it's an innocent pile of ash, especially if they're accompanied by the horrible odor of a rotting animal carcass (which I was told by the treatment facility is a matter of whether or not it's been "treated" with enough chemicals). The site link is http://www.sludgefacts.org/ .