In Brief / en bref...

NEWEA held a PFAS Conference October 15th at UMass Lowell, covering a range of topics from site evaluations, to state & federal actions, to analytical methods & research. NEWEA has posted the presentations here and photos here.  

How is anaerobic digestion (AD) doing in New England?  The most recent Northeast Digestion Roundtable addressed this question.  See the slides and notes from NEDR #11....

Meanwhile, Synagro took over operations of the Greater Lawrence Sanitary District's heat drying operations in early October, which were originally created and operated by NEFCO over most of the past two decades.

The Manchester, NH sewage sludge incinerator (SSI) has reached an agreement with U. S. EPA regarding reducing mercury emissions under the new MACT standards imposed by the EPA air program. See EPA news release

The Slate Belt Heat Recovery Project in Northeast Pennsylvania is progressing through a state hearing November 7th and addressing ongoing local concerns. Synagro, Waste Management, and a local company will utilize waste heat from a landfill biogas electricity generator to dry biosolids - an environmental win-win.

Florida DEP has formed a Biosolids Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), in part because of nutrient runoff concerns in South Florida allegedly related to biosolids.  The TAC met in early September and will hold its second meeting November 16th.  See the TAC website....

Microplastics is an issue of growing public concern, as in this UK Times article. How are wastewater and biosolids management involved? Is this a significant issue for biosolids?  A session at WEFTEC addressed the issue.  This Danish study of biosolids' role found more microplastics from ordinary agricultural practices than biosolids. And Dr. Sally Brown, Univ. of Washington, addressed microplastics in a recent abstracts review available to members of NEBRA, CASA, MABA, and NW Biosolids.

David Lewis continues claims about biosolids, autism, and vaccines - including claiming that, in 1988, the year ocean disposal of wastewater solids was banned in the U. S., autism immediately began to increase because of biosolids use.  "Land application of sewage sludge...is likely a major factor in triggering autism," he claimed in a talk to an autism group earlier this year. The fact that biosolids are applied to less than 1% of U. S. farmlands and that an average citizen's exposure via biosolids is essentially zero make these latest claims even more preposterous than some of Dr. Lewis's earlier ones.

Pay attention to odors!  That's the lesson - a common one - learned this time in a jury verdict in a lawsuit in North Carolina.  Smithfield Foods was ordered to pay neighbors of hog waste land application operations $473.5 million, according to this CBS news coverage.  The concern was simple: "Farms unfairly interfered with the neighbors' ability to enjoy their own property," notes this WRAL story.  For organic residuals management, this is another in a long line of reminders that controlling malodors is critical.  But there is a balance needed, and farmers and legislators in NC are pushing back against overuse of nuisance lawsuits.