Augusta County, VA

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Augusta County, VA is the second largest county in Virginia.[1]

Sewage Sludge Debate

In 2011, a debate erupted in Augusta County over whether to allow sewage sludge from as far away as Philadelphia to be spread on farms within the county. For over a decade before that, Augusta County farms were spread with sewage sludge from local sewage-treatment plants. While county officials did not have a problem with the application of local sludge, several balked at the prospect of sludge from distant cities, saying they don't want to become a "dumping ground."[2] Sewage sludge, often called "biosolids" to obscure what it really is, contains a lightly-regulated stew of contaminants and is not safe to apply on land where food is grown. However, the practice is legal in the United States. (For more information, see the article on sewage sludge.)

The 2011 debate centers around a company called ReCyc Systems, Inc., which applied for a sludge-spreading permit from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The permit would allow them to spread sewage sludge on 4,100 acres on 10 different farms all over Augusta County.[3] Gary Flory, the water compliance manager at the DEQ told Augusta County supervisors that the application of sewage sludge to farmland is safe.[4] Additionally, one county supervisor says “there are not a lot options” to block the requested permit.[5]

Articles and Resources


  1. Augusta County History, Accessed September 2, 2011.
  2. "Augusta Biosolids Dumping Ground Debate," NBC 29, August 22, 2011, Accessed September 2, 2011.
  3. "Augusta Biosolids Dumping Ground Debate," NBC 29, August 22, 2011, Accessed September 2, 2011.
  4. "Editorial: Midweek Briefing," News Virginian, August 24, 2011, Accessed September 2, 2011.
  5. Bob Stuart, "DEQ: Biosolids 'highly regulated'," News Virginian, August 23, 2011, Accessed September 2, 2011.

Other SourceWatch resources

External Articles

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