Sewage sludge; localities located in karst region to prohibit application in their boundaries. (HB1340)

Introduced By

Del. Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Land application of sewage sludge.  Authorizes those localities located in karst regions to prohibit the land application of sewage sludge within their boundaries. Karst terrain is characterized by springs, caves, sinkholes, and a unique hydrogeology that results in aquifers that are highly productive but extremely vulnerable to contamination. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/22/2010Presented and ordered printed 10103998D
01/22/2010Referred to Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources
01/27/2010Assigned ACNRsub: #1 Agriculture
02/01/2010Subcommittee recommends continuing to 2011
02/03/2010Continued to 2011 in Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources


Nancy V. Raine writes:

I support this bill 100%. Please consider the what has happened in Lawrence County, Alabama -- sludge has contaminated 5,000 acres of land, private wells and grazing ponds with perfluorinated chemicals that originated at Decatur industries (discharged into the Decatur Utilities wastewater treatment plant). The Decatur Utilities contractor, Synagro, has been dumping this toxic waste on area farms for more than a decade. More than 15,000 acres of farmland in Bedford County, Va have had sewage sludge applied by Synagro in the last 10 years, originating at two wastewater treatment plants in New Jersey and other urban centers. What has it done to the county's water? No one knows. We must use the precautionary principle in regard to this practice. The toxic contents of sewage sludge are finding their way into our water and the food chain -- e.g. in Bedford, cattle are eating hay grown on land that has had sewage sludge applied. This practice is a liability transfer from urban centers to rural areas, which are least able to pay for remediation when contamination is found, even if it were possible to remediate (which it is not!) This bill recognizes the dangerous impact of land application on Virginia's water.

Mary Graf writes:

I support this bill. It is a step that needs to be taken to protect our waters - one of our most precious natural resources. Protection needs to be implemented BEFORE rather than after contamination. How likely is contamination? Well, sewage sludge biosolids are allowed under a pollution abatement permit - they are by definition pollutants, which can soak into and run off of the land to which they are applied, especially karst soils, contaminating groundwater and streams/rivers/bays.

Pat Fitzgibbons writes:

I have heard too many stories of people in Virginia physically sickened immediately after sewage sludge biosolids were put down on neighboring fields. The minerals, chemicals, etc. that are in this sludge will surely negatively impact Virginia water resources unless this bill is passed.