The Oconee Enterprise, June 1, 2017:
Dr. David Lewis
When Congress passed the Clean Water and Clean Air Acts in the late 60s and early 70s, President Nixon established EPA to develop regulations aimed at protecting public health and the environment. President Carter followed by having wastewater treatment plants built throughout America to remove traces of pollutants before discharging wastewater into rivers and other water bodies. Wastewater treatment plants remove trace amounts of water insoluble pollutants by concentrating them in the animal fats contained in sewage sludges, which collect in settling tanks.
EPA deregulated virtually all pollutants in sewage sludge, and promoted their application to land as biosolids. Its only challenge was to explain how trace amounts of petrochemicals and other industrial wastes it strictly regulates in air and water become harmless when mixed with sewage sludge at far higher concentrations, and spread on land where animals graze and children play. According to an internal memo, EPA decided to fund research at land grant universities to “support the science and substance” of its sludge rule, and “overcome misinformation spread by opponents.”
In April 2000, EPA Administrator Carol Browner presented me with the agency’s Science Achievement Award for Biology and Ecology for a study I published in Nature, which raised concerns about EPA’s sludge rule. Ironically, EPA had just recently transferred me to the University of Georgia’s Department of Marine Sciences pending termination for publishing a Nature commentary that was critical of the way EPA handles science in this and other areas.
My UGA appointment ended in 2008 when Nature published an editorial and news article supporting my research on sewage sludge at UGA. It criticized EPA and UGA for publishing data that a federal judge determined were fudged to cover up links between cattle deaths and sewage sludges.
In the wake of this negative publicity, UGA terminated my Visiting Scientist status. My former department head testified under oath in my whistleblower case against EPA. He stated that UGA administrators warned him that the university is “dependent on this money … grant and contract money … money either from possible future EPA grants or [from] connections there might be between the waste-disposal community [and] members of faculty at the university.”
The tragedy is that sewage sludges could be converted into valuable soil amendments and cheap fertilizers using pyrolysis to destroy toxic chemicals, bind heavy metals to activated charcoal, and return carbon to the soil instead of adding it to the atmosphere.
Even doing nothing would have been better than diverting chemical wastes to wastewater treatment plants for land application. At least most toxic chemicals that entered rivers were carried away from human populations and ended up in trace amounts in sediments at the bottoms of oceans. Now, thanks to EPA and its body of fake science, they’re spread all around us on land at millions of times higher concentrations.
The opinions expressed are those of David Lewis, Research Director for the Focus for Health Foundation in Watchung, NJ (www.focusforhealth.org/davidlewis), author of Science for Sale (Skyhorse Publishing, NY) and CEO of Saxon Road Church Inc. in Watkinsville, Georgia.
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David Lewis, Ph.D.
Former U.S. EPA Research Microbiologist
David Lewis is an internationally recognized research microbiologist whose work on public health and environmental issues, as a senior-level Research Microbiologist in EPA’s Office of Research & Development and member of the Graduate Faculty of the University of Georgia, has been reported in numerous news articles and documentaries from TIME magazine and Reader’s Digest to National Geographic.