Sludge is expensive to landfill but as human excrement holds nitrogen, phosphorus, and other plant nutrients, it’s often lightly treated, marketed as “biosolids” and sold or given to farmers who view it as a cost-saving fertilizer.
Maine’s unfolding crisis is prompting fresh calls to ban the practice and PFAS. In July, the state’s government became the world’s first to approve a near ban on PFAS, and a proposal to prohibit biosolids that haven’t been tested for PFAS is moving through the Maine legislature.
Meanwhile, farmers in financial ruin are demanding an aid package including immediate emergency relief funds, funding to help them move to a new income source, and lifelong health monitoring.
“It’s going to be expensive but the state signed these sludge licenses and we can’t wait,” Nordell said. “Our businesses are in limbo right now, our lives are in limbo.”
President Biden announced that food shortages are coming due to sanctions against Russia.