Waste Not: The Composted Sewage Conundrum

Recently, I've been reading a fair bit about the sewage-as-fertilizer debate raging in San Francisco. Much of the drama centers around the position of the Chez Panisse Foundation, Alice Waters' charitable arm. They haven't come out against the use of sewage in fertilizers. This has gotten people all worked up. From The Atlantic:

For the last several months the Bay Area has been embroiled in a true sludgefest. On one side are environmental and consumer groups such as the Center for Food Safety (CFS) and the Organic Consumers Association (OCA). They have been pushing hard for the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to end its three-year-old program of giving away composted sewage sludge for citizens to spread on their yards and gardens. Sludge, the groups say, contains toxic chemicals and hazardous metals. It's a position supported by the Environmental Protection Agency, which has found that sludge can contain heavy metals, pharmaceuticals, PCBs, flame retardants, and endocrine disruptors.

Also on TheAtlantic.com today, oil spill finger-pointing and a new GM crop study.