VIRGINIA'S BIOSOLIDS EXPERT PANEL
Virginia has appointed a Biosolids Expert Panel to review the sludge problem -- but the state failed to fund the
panel so it could accomplish its purpose -- nor will it allow the citizens to identify the problems. Retired EPA Super
Sludge Salesman, Alan Rubin, represented his own consulting company, has attempted to compromise the lone
citizens representative on the panel in a memo to the panel in which he states, "Both Henry and I agree that this is
an impossible task for the panel, and that a full list of pollutants in any given biosolids will not be identified in the
near future." This is a major concession for Rubin who spent his career convincing the states chemical and
pathogen contaminated sludge use was safe. But he has little choice now that MRSA is pandemic and the Virginia
Governor has approved an emergency regulation by the State Health Commissioner that requires laboratories to
report Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infection to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH). .
BIOSOLIDS EXPERT PANEL excerpt and comments -- Meeting Minutes Date: September 18, 2007
It would appear from the meeting minutes that the experts have no idea what pathogen and chemical
contaminated sludge is doing to the public health and the environment in Virginia.
Secretary Bryant recommended the Panel try to determine what constituents of biosolids need to
Robert Hale stated we will never be able to determine all the constituents of biosolids and,
therefore, we’ll always have uncertainty and possible risk. He suggested the Panel should focus
on human health without knowing all the constituents in biosolids.
Angela Neilan read the outline rules provided by Cindy Berndt, DEQ Regulatory Coordinator,
which must be followed by the Panel or work groups regarding their meetings.
Angela Neilan noted that all meetings of Panel or work group members must be public noticed.
Only one citizen representative was appointed to the panel, attorney Henry J. Staudinger. Retired EPA Super
Sludge Salesman, Alan Rubin, represented his own consulting company on the Panel met privately with
Staudinger for three hours and issued the following statement in a memo to the Panel: "Both Henry and I agree
that this is an impossible task for the panel, and that a full list of pollutants in any given biosolids will not be
identified in the near future."
What Rubin implies is that Henry agrees that it is too expensive to test the full list of pollutants in any given
biosolids and that EPA and WEF members on the Panel have no intention of releasing the pollutant lists from the
40 city sludge survey or the National Sewage Sludge Survey (NSSS) of 479 treatment plants out of 11,407
nationally. EPA claimed to have performed sampling and analysis at 208 treatment plants -or- was the number
What Staudinger actually stated in his memo to the Panel was: "The lack of information as to biosolids
constituents is likely to exist well into the future. It will take even longer to evaluate the potential risks associated
with exposure to those constituents."
As noted in the minutes: "The Panel is a ‘body politic’ created by legislation." As such, its mission is not
to protect the state's political bodies, and employees, involved from liability for damage to public health
and the environment. To do so would reflect badly on the General Assembly.
Excerpts from memos and letters to Virginia's Biosolids Expert Panel Members
CW William's letter to EXPERT PANEL MEMBERS: OPEN LETTER
Thank you for your clarification during the September 18, 2007 meeting of the Biosolids Expert Panel whereby you
emphasized and reiterated, during citizen presentations, that the citizens will not be allowed to identify the
problems nor the agency and staff that have created the sludge pollution disposal issues which have drawn the
attention and action of the General Assembly. The formation of this Panel, mandated by the Virginia General
Assembly, exhibits the severity of the problem-issues facing Virginia and its citizens' health re exposure to harmful
sludge pollution constituents.
Henry J. Staudinger's 10/10/2007 memo to Virginia's Biosolids Expert Panel Members
HJR 694 directs this panel to “study the impact of land application of biosolids (sewage sludge) on
human health and the environment.” From the perspective of the public, it is hoped that the
panel’s report will lead to better protection for health, the environment and quality of life when
biosolids are land applied. However, t he panel must operate with a severe handicap -- it has been
afforded no funds and limited resources and time. As a result, the panel’s report will of necessity
be limited and be based primarily on collected information.
Alan Rubin (retired EPA) memo to Virginia's Biosolids Expert Panel Members
The joint resolution charged the panel to “perform a detailed analysis of the chemical and biological composition
of biosolids”. Both Henry and I agree that this is an impossible task for the panel, and that a full list of pollutants in
any given biosolids will not be identified in the near future.
On October 4, Henry Staudinger and I met to see if we could reach a mutual understanding of the expressed
concerns of the public; and to prioritize them in light of what we thought the panel might be able to accomplish
within the severe limitations it is operating under. We had a very productive three hour talk and have reached
some initial conclusions that we wish to share.
We are aware of the complaints of illness from people living in close proximity to biosolids land application sites.
An important concern of the public is the human health impact of the constituents in these aerosols following
exposure. This concern is heightened by those citizens who are already ill, those with allergies or heightened
sensitivities to chemical and biological agents, and those who have experienced health problems following
exposure. The public’s inability to scientifically document the exposure’s relationship to biosolids that are in close
proximity to their residences due to lack of information as to the constituents in biosolids has been especially
MRSA - Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus - the pandemic
Index --Amoeba Pathogens infections in eye, bone, brain, and respiratory tract by water or air
Index -- Antibiotic Resistants -- Genetic transfer of toxin producing genes between bacteria.
Index -- Bacteria (hazardous) in sludge biosolids and reclaimed water into food & drinking water
Index -- Food Poisoning from hazardous substances in sludge biosolids, reclaimed and drinking water
Index -- Fungus (hazardous) in sludge biosolids and compost
Index -- Helminths (hazardous worms) in sludge biosolids and reclaimed water
Index -- Pandemic diseases in the United States 1980 - 2007
Index -- Protozoa (hazardous) in sludge biosolids and reclaimed water into food and drinking water
Index -- Public health effects from hazardous sewage sludge and effluent
Index -- Viruses (hazardous in sludge biosolids and reclaimed water into food and drinking water
Index -- Viable, but nonculturable disease organisms in sewage sludge and effluent.
GLOSSARY OF INFECTIONS-- STUDIES SHOW CAUSED BY BACTERIA, VIRUSES and FUNGUS