The following message was sent to our leadership teams (Oct 5) to advise them of the new regulations for Sewage Sludge Incinerators and to call for extensive review and analysis before proceeding on this issue.
County Manager Jones and Mecklenburg County Commissioners;
Town Manager Welch, Mayor Biggers and Town of Mint Hill Board of Commissioners;
Town Manager Roberts, Mayor Tarte and Cornelius Town Board of Commissioners;
Town Administrator Rose, Mayor Fowler and Pineville Town Council;
Town Manager Ferguson, Mayor Swain and Town of Huntersville Commissioners;
Town Manger Brice, Mayor Woods and Town of Davidson Board of Commissioner;
Town Manager Blodgett, Mayor Taylor and Town of Matthews Board of Commissioners; and,
Mayor Foxx, Mr. Walton and City Council Members
The Central Piedmont group of the Sierra Club is pleased to learn that on October 1st, the EPA announced their intent to cut mercury emissions, particle pollution and other harmful pollutants from sewage sludge incinerators1.
Incineration of sewer sludge is the sixth-largest source of mercury air emissions in the United States and represents a serious health risk to citizens and environmental damage to soil, water and air. In their press release the EPA noted that “Mercury in the air eventually deposits into water, where it changes into methylmercury, a highly toxic form that builds up in fish. People are primarily exposed to mercury by eating contaminated fish. Because the developing fetus is the most sensitive to the toxic effects of methylmercury, women of childbearing age and children are regarded as the populations of greatest concern”1.
The developer of ReVenture Park has proposed and the City of Charlotte Economic Development Council Committee has endorsed a plan for Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities (CMU) to provide sewage sludge biosolids to be burned in their proposed incinerator2. We believe that before any commitment is made to this agreement that extensive review of the public heath, economic and environmental risks of such a proposal be required of the developer and that this document be reviewed by the appropriate departments and by an independent third party source. We also believe that a series of public hearing should be held to allow citizens in Mecklenburg and Gaston Counties the opportunity to express any concerns about this proposal.
For additional information on this issue we highly recommend your review of the following sources:
- Letter to NCDENR Division of Air Quality regarding North Carolina Proposed Nonattainment Ozone Boundaries. Blue Ridge Environmental Defense League (BREDL). (http://www.bredl.org/pdf2/nonattainment_comments020609.pdf).
- Frequently Asked Questions About Sewage Sludge. Over 60,000 toxic substances and chemical compounds can be found in sewage sludge. http://www.bredl.org/pdf/FAQ-sludge.pdf
- North Carolina Air Quality rules for sewage sludge and sludge incinerators. Report deals with Particulate Matter, Visible Emissions, Sulfur Dioxide, Odorous Emissions, Hydrogen Chloride, Mercury Emissions, Beryllium Emissions, Lead Emissions, Other Metal Emissions and Toxic Emissions from burning sewage sludge. 15A NCAC 02D .1204 SEWAGE SLUDGE AND SLUDGE INCINERATORS
- Are BIOSOLIDS safe for our farmlands and FOOD? The Federal Clean Water Act defines sewage sludge as a “pollutant” [33USC 1462]. Additional information on http://www.bredl.org/pdf2/Biosolids_Factsheet.pdf
The decision to burn CMU’s biosolids, Mecklenburg municipal solid waste and compostable yard waste for the next twenty years is a decision that should not be entered into lightly. The Central Piedmont Sierra Club calls upon our elected officials and the various city, town and county departments to proceed with caution and with all due diligence in this matter.
Incinerator Free Mecklenburg
Representing 2,300 members in Anson, Cabarrus, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly & Union counties
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