Maine Recognizes Dangers in Biosoilds


The May 22nd Edition of the Portland Press Herald reported on the introduction of an extended testing protocol for biosolids, a polite term for processed sewage sludge before application to farmland.


The problem arises from contamination of milk with per- and poly-fluoroalkyl compounds (PFAs) identified in sewage sludge.  In 2016 officials of the Wells Water District determined the presence of PFA compounds in water, soil and milk at the Arundel Dairy Farm operated by the Stone family.  Sludge from the Kennebunk and Ogunquit treatment plants was applied to hay fields from the mid 1980’s until 2014.  Subsequently sludge from a waste paper mill was applied to fields in accordance with procedures approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. An environmental toxicologist consulted by EGG-NEWS suggested that given current information that the contamination was most likely from the paper mill in comparison to the sewage plants. Levels of PFAs assayed were not disclosed in the press report.


Sludge is currently assayed for heavy metal contamination but inclusion of assays for specific organic chemicals has been introduced to prevent further cases similar to the Arundel Dairy Farm.