March 6, 2008--Sewage-based fertilizer safety doubted (Washington Post)

It was a farm idea with a big payoff and supposedly no downside: ridding lakes and rivers of raw sewage and industrial pollution by converting it all into a free, nutrient-rich fertilizer. Then last week, a federal judge ordered the Agriculture Department to compensate a farmer whose land was poisoned by sludge from the waste treatment plant here. His cows had died by the hundreds. The Associated Press also has learned that some of the same contaminants showed up in milk that regulators allowed a neighboring dairy farmer to market, even after some officials said they were warned about it. In one case, according to test results provided to the AP, the level of thallium _ an element once used as rat poison _ found in the milk was 120 times the concentration allowed in drinking water by the Environmental Protection Agency.

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