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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

BIOFerm Energy Systems is, a Madison, Wisconsin company that, in its own words, a "provider of clean renewable energy solutions through the design and construction of BIOFerm™ biogas plants that recover energy from organic waste and biomass."[1] Among its recent projects is an "innovative partnership with Milk Source’s Rosendale Dairy and renewable energy companies Viessmann Group and . . . the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s College of Letters and Science and UW Oshkosh Foundation. . . . The plant would use the farm’s livestock manure to make energy. It would also operate as a dynamic, collaborative UW Oshkosh student-and-faculty biosolids research and teaching laboratory with an attached public education center."[2]

Toxic Sludge Gasification Controversy

"Biosolids" is the sewage sludge industry's euphemistic PR term for toxic sludge. EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman has called anaerobic digestion, or using sludge to generate methanol or energy, the "most environmentally sound approach, but also the most expensive," to sludge disposal. However, anaerobic digestion of sewage sludge, while it reduces the volume of the sludge and heats it to a temperature that kills many pathogens, still leaves behind what BKT and others in the industry call "digestate" or, more specifically in this case, "biosolids." These "Class A Biosolids" (so-called because the Environmental Protection Agency has stricter limits on pathogens and "vector attraction" for Class A than for Class B Biosolids, i.e. they must not attract disease-carrying insects or rodents, etc.) still contain other sludge contaminants, including Dioxins and Furans, Flame Retardants, Metals, Organochlorine Pesticides, 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP), Naphthalene, Triclosan, Nonylphenols, Phthalates, Nanosilver, and thousands more substances.

The EPA's 2009 Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) concluded that all sewage sludge, Class A, Class B or otherwise, contains toxic and hazardous materials, including large numbers of endocrine disruptors. The TNSSS results are described in two EPA reports published in 2009. EPA found that dozens of hazardous materials, not regulated and not required to be tested for, have been documented in each and every one of the sludge samples EPA took around the USA.[3] And yet Class A "Biosolids" may be applied to cropland with no restrictions and sold or given away to gardeners as "organic fertilizers," and hundreds of municipalities and companies do so.

Exhibitor at and Sponsor of the 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling"

BIOFerm Energy Systems was an exhibitor at the 2011 BioCycle 11th Annual Conference on "Renewable Energy from Organics Recycling," and gave extra money to sponsor the printing of the conference Program. BioCycle Magazine is a publication serving the interests of the sewage sludge industry.[4]


Other SourceWatch Resources


  1. BIOFerm, Company Profile, corporate website, accessed November 3, 2011
  2. Alex Hummel, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh, UWO partners in second dynamic biodigester project, press release, August 30, 2011
  3. Environmental Protection Agency, TNSSS: EPA-822-R-08-016 and EPA-822-R-08-018, January 2009
  4. BioCycle, Exhibitor Directory, publisher's website, accessed November 3, 2011
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