Letter to the Editor: Don’t Use Biosolids in Your Garden

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Dear gardening friends,

Welcome spring to the Pacific Northwest. It’s the time of year to buy our favorite seeds and potting soil and think about how we’re going to design our flower beds and gardens. With that in mind, I found that many potting soils and garden centers had soil that contained biosolids.

Biosolids is the marketing term used to replace the term sewage sludge. Sewage sludge is the solids that remain after wastewater treatment by a sewage treatment plant. The sewage treatment plant treats anything that is flushed down the toilet or into a drainage system. Sewage sludge contains human and animal faeces, pathogens, medical waste, industrial chemicals, plastics forever (PFAS), pharmaceuticals, heavy metals and whatever else someone has placed in the sewage system. Municipal sewage systems remove some but not all of the contaminants and whatever remains is placed on farmland, in forests and in soil that can be bought in a bag or donated by truck.

Personally, I don’t want biosolids in my garden, flower beds or powerpots. I don’t want my grandchildren, my pets, or my husband and I exposed to the unknown dangers of biosolids.

I called the company that makes the potting soil I’ve been using for years, and they assured me that there were no biosolids in those bags of potting soil. Be careful when buying your garden supplies and ask what’s in the soil bags. Please be careful when buying your garden supplies and ask what’s in the ground. Many people will tell you that Class A biosolids are fine. After my husband and I have done extensive research by reading articles, calling agencies, and visiting various groups within this state and other states, we totally disagree.

For more information on biosolids, we’ve created a Facebook group called Toledo Citizens Against Bio Sludge. You are welcome to listen to the videos and read the articles we have published.

Have a good spring and summer.

Sharon Layton

Retired Faculty of Nursing

Lower Columbia College

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