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Growing crops with treated human waste/sludge - Does it pass on medications?

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posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 10:47 AM
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So I'm sure most of you have heard that much of the medications that people take get flushed down the toilet either through urine, or other means (sometimes actually dumping pills down toilet). Some of the medications are metabolites and some are still active or are a different form/compound that can have effects. This stuff passes on to the waste water treatment facilities where much of it gets caught in the airation and flocculation process and settles to the bottom where it is sucked out/collected and usually dried, sometimes in addition with things like wood chips or other organic matter. Sometimes this stuff is spread on fields or plowed into the field where crops are grown. I've seen football fields that have had this stuff spread on them, in this case it was the woodchip/sludge mix that is basically like a mulch.

Now this stuff is a great source of nitrogen and it does a very good job of fertilizing crops and is much less expensive than artificial fertilizers. I've seen some places sell it for as little as $1 per ton (a 15 ton load for $10-15) and even giving it away free when they have more than what they can store.

What I have seen from the processing is that this stuff never undergoes high temperature processing where the medications are broken down into non-active ingredients. Even if it is mixed, as a wet sludge, with wood chips, it undergoes a long "pasteurization" where the heat from decomposition breaks down the wood and drives off a lot of the water in the sludge giving a dry product at the end. The problem is that there are still a lot of active medical compounds or metabolites in this product that is going to be placed on our fields where crops are grown.

I'm wondering what are the chances of things getting into the food supply through this vector and if there isn't a better use for this stuff than for food crops such as possibly fuel crops (corn for ethanol) or for spreading in other places where food is not to be grown. I have not seen any studies about this which is worrying and I've always wondered about this but it didn't seem to be a problem until I saw our local processing plant build a 10 acre building to process this stuff in MASSIVE amounts with mountains of this sludge (IDK where all this sludge could possibly come from as this plant runs 24/7/365 it seems and the warehouse is full up to 30-40ft high).

What I'm worried about is if this is being shipped in from major cities to an outside county processing center and then millions of people's waste is being concentrated on the fields in a relatively small area. So you have 10+ million people's waste going to a serviceable area of 15-25 mile radius for the fertilizer usage. It wouldn't be economical to ship it further I wouldn't think.




posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 11:10 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

Makes my skin crawl.

Here is an excerpt from a great article on this very matter. There is more to prove the cons of such usage, but I chose this portion to share only.

There is worry of antibiotic resistance, pathogens not being completely destroyed, not all parasites are destroyed.

"Research has backed up some of the critics. A 2012 study led by environmental chemist Chad Kinney of Colorado State University, Pueblo, found that earthworms in soil treated with biosolids contained a variety of manmade compounds, including pharmaceuticals and personal care products, like the antibiotic drug trimethoprim (used to treat urinary tract infections and other conditions) and the disinfectant triclosan (a common ingredient in antibacterial hand soap).

Whether those synthetic compounds actually harm earthworms is unknown, and Kinney notes that the concentrations are low. But he said their presence shows that manmade contaminants in biosolids are moving up the food web. This suggests they could be reaching humans, too."
motherboard.vice.com...



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 11:14 AM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof




So you have 10+ million people's waste going to a serviceable area of 15-25 mile radius for the fertilizer usage. It wouldn't be economical to ship it further I wouldn't think.


Substitute "people's" with "hogs/swine" and you have a problem NC has 'managed' over the last 18 years. I don't know about the biodegradable properties of "medications", but I can tell you that until it causes a problem it will continue happening...it took a hurricane to deal with swine waste.

And no, it wouldn't be economical in any sense. In all likelihood, it's 'value' less than the tipping fee one would otherwise pay to rid themselves of the waste. Hell, NC government set aside $10M to come up with "innovative technologies" to deal with the swine waste...they tried vermiculture (worms)...they tried numerous 'technologies' and ended up with nothing. One venture was able to satisfy the criterion set forth in the legislation, but the "value-added byproduct" (I swear, that was the language we worked with) had so little value that the NCDOT cancelled their agreement to come to the processing facility and pick up the "soil amendments" (the hard/solid part of the hog turds were separated out and anaerobically digested and called "soil amendments") for FREE!

MSW management is big-business -- I'd look to a private company in that space and check out their 'resources/whatever' feature on their website and you'll probably be able to drill down and find a white paper or some pilot program dealing with exactly what your OP is concerning.

Cheers.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 12:02 PM
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I’m no doctor, but I have amassed a comprehensive collection of benzodiazepines from my walks on the outside. Clonazepams and Xanax seem to be in vogue, and a thousandth of a gram is considered a high dose. Sometimes, the pills appear to have been sucked off of one end. Luckily, the pills are usually in a baggie, preventing watershed contamination. But there’s no law against a pharmajunky taking a huge drug infused piss, when they’re not too busy shooting up a playground to complete the terms of a black op deal, their doped up electrolytes making ground with the earth, as sure as Woodman’s plaid casting couch sits ensconced above plumbing arrays in the heart of the gaudy Met Art pimp palace jungle; and the scent cannot be scrubbed away, thereby affecting us all.

Last week I picked up a from the gutter a baggie with a cap with jagged crystalline white powder stuffed inside, about 500 mls. Could be methyldeoxymethylamphetamine, methyldeoxyethylamphetamine, or just straight up speed. Hard to say, really. It pisses me off that neurotransmitter disruptors can be found laying all over the place, but try to source a gram of grass without winding up on another government criminal database. I could just puke at this point.

I was prompted to research these uptake inhibitors, their effects on the victims. Withdrawing is not an option. They mix and match, comparing their data on generic versus established forms, rumors about the supposed best tabs, with other junkies like themselves, on internet blogs and in underage nightclubs where the walls of the places are pelted by bizarre cunningly strobed light arrays, created by certified and lauded permanent brain damage victims, who are rewarded in trade, to shatter what remains of the minds of incipient users streaming forth. They will do anything to keep the delight coming. Yes, I want to vomit. And yes, it all winds up in our water (I mean the SSRI’s).

# 967
edit on 16-4-2018 by TheWhiteKnight because: (no reason given)

edit on 16-4-2018 by TheWhiteKnight because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 12:11 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

People have used manure as fertilizer for god knows how long, no problems there so I don't see the problem here, unless it was polonium.

If you want to play it safe collect some rain water and use a water spout, plants react better to simulated rainfall.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 12:44 PM
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A fellow I knew when I was at uni years ago who had decided to study some computing after a heart attack and a triple bypass and was old enough to of done national service when it was around said he got sent to some asian country and they were not allowed to eat the local by order of the military as they used human poop on the fields and he said it didn't seem to do the locals any harm so corned beef curry was the staple dish at the time.

Normally for a lot of drugs I'd imagine that by the time its processed by all the microbes along the chain upwards it'll have such a low density it'll be virtually nothing at the worst.

Here in the UK you can just hand in any drugs you no longer need at the local pharmacy and they send them off for burning and they don't ask any questions as normally you just put whatever it is in a bag and say they are no longered needed and should be destroyed.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 02:30 PM
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originally posted by: BeefNoMeat
a reply to: DigginFoTroof




So you have 10+ million people's waste going to a serviceable area of 15-25 mile radius for the fertilizer usage. It wouldn't be economical to ship it further I wouldn't think.


Substitute "people's" with "hogs/swine" and you have a problem NC has 'managed' over the last 18 years. I don't know about the biodegradable properties of "medications", but I can tell you that until it causes a problem it will continue happening...it took a hurricane to deal with swine waste.

And no, it wouldn't be economical in any sense. In all likelihood, it's 'value' less than the tipping fee one would otherwise pay to rid themselves of the waste. Hell, NC government set aside $10M to come up with "innovative technologies" to deal with the swine waste...they tried vermiculture (worms)...they tried numerous 'technologies' and ended up with nothing. One venture was able to satisfy the criterion set forth in the legislation, but the "value-added byproduct" (I swear, that was the language we worked with) had so little value that the NCDOT cancelled their agreement to come to the processing facility and pick up the "soil amendments" (the hard/solid part of the hog turds were separated out and anaerobically digested and called "soil amendments") for FREE!

MSW management is big-business -- I'd look to a private company in that space and check out their 'resources/whatever' feature on their website and you'll probably be able to drill down and find a white paper or some pilot program dealing with exactly what your OP is concerning.

Cheers.


I'm well aquainted with the mess in NC as I used to get severely sick every summer in the 90's while swimming on the coast. I didn't know that the rivers were draining raw pig crap into the ocean and depending on the tide and storms the water was extremely clear or it was dirty brown. The entire family would get sick at the same time, along with most other people at the beach. I think this was a little after Hugo.

The Triclosan looks like it could be a nasty chemical and the jury looks to be out on bio-accumulation. As far as using animal waste vs human waste, there is a HUGE difference in the two, especially in the developed world. IDK many cows, pigs/livestock on SSRI's, MAOI's, benzo's, estrogen, androgens, anabolics, antibiotics (though some animals do take these), etc. Along with these medications, there is the accumulation of household chemicals found in soaps, like Triclosan and others that don't seem to breakdown at normal processing by waste water treatment.

It is one thing to have a barn full of chickens/cows and putting their manure on the field. They are just eating grain or hay/grass and their manure is purely organic (may have slight amounts of antibiotics once in a while). When dealing with humans, the waste is totally different, especially dealing with meat eating animals that take these drugs. The feces of a carnivor is much different than a herbivore.

Again, I see the problem being the concentration of this stuff being spread out over a small area where the farmers aren't aware of the damage they are doing to their land. The cities ship their sludge 60-100 miles to a central location where it is processed, then it is spread locally as a cheap or free fertilizer that may be killing the land. If the sludge/waste were spread out over the area in which it was generated, there would be 50x the amount of land to spread it upon, but now it is 50x more concentrated, which is where the problem lies and I think it is being covered up, literally.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:00 PM
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Humanure is nothing new. Many organic farms have used it for decades and folks never knew it. It's not a hidden thing, people just don't bother to ask about the fertilizers.
My dad had composting toilets installed on the farm before I was even born. I remember after the contents "matured", he'd mix it into the animal waste & food waste compost, let that further compost & then eventually would use only that for fertilizer. Never paid a dime for commercially-made, just made his own. We had really fertile fields and one hell of an over-achieving personal garden.

Granted, that was over 30+ years ago, and not on as large a "donor" scale as public waste, but folks had no idea the meat & veggies we sold at the store had originated in partially human feces-containing compost. And my parents ran an organic farm, chem exposure was very minimal at best. My dad wouldn't even use pesticides in the worst seasons. Maybe if his asthma inhaler meds made it through was about as chem-exposed as it got from us.
edit on 4/16/2018 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:15 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

It's fairly small. Any drugs, etc in the soil gets into the plants where the plants metabolize them. You wouldn't get a straight pass-through of medications.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:25 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

as a general rule... let's just keep the human sewage away from the foodstuffs... how about that...

yet another reason i will gladly pay for organic produce.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:29 PM
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a reply to: Nyiah




My dad had composting toilets installed on the farm before I was even born. I remember after the contents "matured", he'd mix it into the animal waste & food waste compost, let that further compost & then eventually would use only that for fertilizer.


see i think if its your own, and its kept onsite and recycled i think its a wonderful idea...although i'd be more inclined to use it on the flower bed instead of the veggie patch. but still, its your own "stuff"... something about having the fecal matter of downtown LA spread on lettuce is a bit ... unsettling



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:52 PM
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originally posted by: Nyiah
Humanure is nothing new. Many organic farms have used it for decades and folks never knew it. It's not a hidden thing, people just don't bother to ask about the fertilizers.
My dad had composting toilets installed on the farm before I was even born. I remember after the contents "matured", he'd mix it into the animal waste & food waste compost, let that further compost & then eventually would use only that for fertilizer. Never paid a dime for commercially-made, just made his own. We had really fertile fields and one hell of an over-achieving personal garden.

Granted, that was over 30+ years ago, and not on as large a "donor" scale as public waste, but folks had no idea the meat & veggies we sold at the store had originated in partially human feces-containing compost. And my parents ran an organic farm, chem exposure was very minimal at best. My dad wouldn't even use pesticides in the worst seasons. Maybe if his asthma inhaler meds made it through was about as chem-exposed as it got from us.


I just talked to the local "composting" facility that deals with the sludge and they told me that as per federal regulations no biosolids can be used for organic crops. I also called my local state AG extension and talked to them and they said the same.

I asked about the source of the solids and he said they work in a similar way as land fills, where the hauler pays a fee to dump the load (by weight I think). He said waste water treatment plants transport the bio-sludge to landfills or their facility and they process the waste.

He also said there were at least 3 grades of bio sludge and grade A was allowed to be used on crops (I think after it has been composted the way they do, but not sure on this). Grade B & C get stricter as to what it can be used for. I asked for a chemical analysis of their product, which they said that they send out per request, but have yet to see it arrive in email.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:58 PM
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originally posted by: smkymcnugget420
a reply to: Nyiah




My dad had composting toilets installed on the farm before I was even born. I remember after the contents "matured", he'd mix it into the animal waste & food waste compost, let that further compost & then eventually would use only that for fertilizer.


see i think if its your own, and its kept onsite and recycled i think its a wonderful idea...although i'd be more inclined to use it on the flower bed instead of the veggie patch. but still, its your own "stuff"... something about having the fecal matter of downtown LA spread on lettuce is a bit ... unsettling

Between compost breakdown, and plant metabolization, it's a pretty small worry as an internal contaminant in something. If you're not washing your produce off before you eat it, then you're inviting surface contaminant issues worth worrying about.
But then again, if you can't be bothered to go the extra mile to make sure your food is cleaner than you bought it, then I suppose you deserve the runs. Moral of the story -- always wash your fruits & veggies off when you get them home. It's a little extra work, but it beats getting sick off something that cropped up on it between field & mouth.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 04:01 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof

At least you're investigating. I encourage you to watch a Vice report called "You Don't Know S#". It's pretty informative.


edit on 4/16/2018 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)


Edit: And as for organic certification restrictions today, I don't think they were really that stringent back when my dad did it. I could be mistaken, however. But that's just the US, and the US being a little overly cautious in some areas, some folks will forgo the cert to still be able to use it on their otherwise organic crops. I guess it just depends on how you personally define something as organic. Me perosnally, I can include humanure and call it organic still if it meets the rest of the criteria.
edit on 4/16/2018 by Nyiah because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 04:13 PM
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originally posted by: Nyiah
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

At least you're investigating. I encourage you to watch a Vice report called "You Don't Know S#". It's pretty informative.



Thanks for the link. I'll probably watch it, though some Vice stuff can go over the edge and really gross me out.

As far as the plants and microorganisms breaking things down, well it all depends upon what the substance is. Some things it is impossible for them to break down and some will accumulate in the plant, animals and soil The point of the issue is recycling waste, much of which IS harmful, back into the source of the food, and there is high probablility that the area's that use this waste will have much higher levels than what would be normal due to economic reasons. I think it is imperative to know where where this stuff is used and how often, such as has this stuff been applied to the same field for 20 years? Or maybe it should only be applied once every 3 - 6 years and the other years regular fertilizers are applied.

I'm worried about the repeat appliers where maybe 20-30 years down the road, we find out that the land is toxic and it is now worthless (for crops) and that it has been polluting the food for X # of years.

I talked to a researcher at the state AG extension and they are getting me in contact with the person who has been researching the use of bio-sludge, so I should be able to find out what they have found from using this stuff.

It is clear though, if federal restrictions are any guide line, that this stuff is harmful if it is of certain classifications as there are severe restrictions as to it's use and the exposure to animals and people after it is applied (like you can't walk , play, graze, etc on applied area for X amount of time after applying). If this is just "organic" biosolids, then there shouldn't be much issue of exposure, but limiting it like this says that it is most definitely harmful. I've seen some radiation contamination take less time to be allowable for access.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 08:18 PM
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a reply to: DigginFoTroof




As far as using animal waste vs human waste, there is a HUGE difference in the two, especially in the developed world. IDK many cows, pigs/livestock on SSRI's, MAOI's, benzo's, estrogen, androgens, anabolics, antibiotics (though some animals do take these), etc. Along with these medications, there is the accumulation of household chemicals found in soaps, like Triclosan and others that don't seem to break down at normal processing by waste water treatment.


I don't recall equating animal waste vs human waste simply, I pointed out if you interchanged the words in your quote, you'd have a problem NC has 'managed' (I actively participated in Smithfield Agreement) since 2000...and it's still a problem, albeit on a far more regulated policy initiative.

At any rate, I understand a great deal about MSW (municipal solid waste), which "sludge" (human or otherwise) is a part of. Be happy to discuss in greater detail, I just can't speak to the chemistry of "medications" or the half-life of a certain metabolite or the propensity for bio-accumulation of certain compounds in MSW/sludge. Outside of that, I can tell you all you want about the economics of it, or even, some of the pertinent regulations.

A good place to start would be here: EPA MSW Manuals/Handbooks
edit on 16-4-2018 by BeefNoMeat because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 08:23 PM
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originally posted by: Byrd
a reply to: DigginFoTroof

It's fairly small. Any drugs, etc in the soil gets into the plants where the plants metabolize them. You wouldn't get a straight pass-through of medications.


Bio-remediation at it's finest: the plants co-opting our free stuff will one day start growing facial hair and producing primo fibers with herculean tensile strength.



posted on Apr, 17 2018 @ 12:44 AM
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That would possibly explain my hairy man-boobs.



posted on Apr, 18 2018 @ 02:20 AM
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"Hey, Mah...that was sh!t in that pumpkin pie."




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