LTE: Poo For Thought?

Dear Editor,

I live directly against Pennsylvania State Game Lands 87 in Bell Township, Clearfield County. Its acquisition by the Game Commission was something we looked forward to.

It meant that the 10,422 acres surrounding our little neighborhood would be protected from development and the land would always be enjoyed as a prized hunting area, packed full of deer, turkeys, pheasants, rabbits, coyotes, etc.

It was much to our neighborhood’s surprise when notices began popping up on trees. These notices indicated that in the upcoming weeks the Game Commission, working in conjunction with We Care Organics and Kyler Environmental, was going to be spreading sludge on the prized land.

Some neighbors received letters giving a warning that the land application was coming. My husband and I did not. A public meeting was to be held. It never happened.

Our neighborhood had no chance of getting the application stopped. A beautiful day in late summer, early fall, a smell (equivalent to eighty port-a-johns in July) wafted through our open doors and windows. The sludge application had started.

We had no idea how much our lives would change. After months of spreading the sludge, well in to November, that rancid smell is constantly perpetuating the air we breathe. Our little community has had a dozen or more people complaining of respiratory issues also: bronchial spasm, pneumonias, reactive airway disease; sinus congestion and infections; and chronic migraines.

I understand that the EPA and DEP think the application of sludge in any fashion (into landfills, injection, or land application) is safe because it’s regulated by the EPA and DEP, but case after case shows that dangerous amounts of toxins, chemicals, heavy metals, bacteria, viruses, parasites, and radioactive material have been found in the sludge, which then gets in to the application soil and water. The sludge is whatever remains after sewage treatment facilities receive the sewage. It is not only human waste, but everything that gets flushed down toilets, ends up in city and town drains, or is disposed of by big industries.

There are thousands of complaints by individuals all over the United States who live near application sites, not only about the rancid smell, but also the real concern of contaminated water and airborne pathogens and particulates. As close as Osceola Mills, PA, an 11-year-old boy died six days after sludge exposure.

I cannot fail to mention the animals that are grazing upon the vegetation and drinking the water in direct contact with the sludge. At least two acquaintances of ours refused to eat the deer they harvested because the meat smelled gangrenous, but did not have gangrene.

Never once in all of our and our families’ history (we have been in this area a long time) has anyone ever heard of or had experience with a harvested animal smelling so foul. As avid hunters, I know it makes our neighborhood question the safety of consuming any meat harvested here.

I’m saddened that the Game Commission would be so selfish, allowing the hauling in of sludge from Binghamton, New York and Toronto, Canada and fattening their pockets with contract money from Kyler Environmental and We Care Organics, that they would not only put an entire community’s safety in jeopardy, local watersheds in jeopardy, but also the health of their prized game in jeopardy.

I’m also saddened that the EPA and DEP will not take the thousands of complaints, past and present, in to consideration when it comes to the contamination of plants, animals, water, air, and the health of local citizens. I feel that not only is this is an environmental and health issue, but a moral issue at best. Since when is it morally sound to dump tons upon tons of sludge on land, when dumping it in the ocean was banned in 1988. Poo for thought?

Thank you for your time,

Allison Gould

Mahaffey

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