Sewer Sludge being disposed of in Cabarrus County

Below you will find more documentation regarding this issue.

Permit Number WQ0000057

Major Permit Modification to add 1500 acres to the current Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities Dept. (CMUD) sewage residuals land application program/permit

Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities is no longer disposing of solid waste from their wastewater treatment plants (a.k.a. sludge, biosolids, compost, etc) in South Carolina, therefore CMUD and the NC Dept. of the Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) is expanding their wastewater treatment plant residuals land application program to include more of Cabarrus, Rowan, Iredell, etc. counties. These “biosolids” are considered class B, which means that only 8 chemicals are monitored for safety and must be permitted for disposal. Live bacteria such as e.coli are ever-present due to the lack of treatment with combustion as is done in Cabarrus County. This material is a mix of effluent from homes, industries, hospitals, funeral homes and other businesses dealing with human pathogens and harmful chemicals.

As we all know, Charlotte experiences incidents where PCBs and other toxins are released to the wastewater system. These harmful, cancer-causing agents are processed out and remain in the sludge, this sludge is then composted and land applied. Things like lime and enzymes are added to the mixture to cut down on the odor in order to make it tolerable for citizens in the communities where spreading occurs and to counteract the acidity of the sewage solids. However things like PCBs, many heavy metals, industrial chemicals, pathogens, viruses and other harmful chemicals that are produced in urban areas go untested and thus, unobserved since they do not give off the odors of human waste. Note that previous to the recent land application ban in South Carolina, Chester County, SC was accepting much of Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities Department sludge and also has one of the highest cancer rates in the state.

CMUD has engaged with a company named Synagro, who offers this mixture of sewage sludge, enzymes and lime to farmers and spreads the material on crop or forage land for free. Some of the harmful chemicals are taken up by the plants and consumed by the livestock, which are sold at market, while some chemicals and e. coli bacteria go through the ground and end up in the surrounding well water, while some chemicals get eroded during rain events and end up in our creeks, streams, rivers and wildlife. As you can see, buying/eating local may not be as healthy as once perceived with the addition of this material in the area, even wildlife consumption will become questionable as well.

So, why not question the safety of these “biosolids” to the officials listed below?

  • Given the recent contamination events in Charlotte with PCBs and other toxins, why aren’t these residuals tested rigorously and thoroughly to protect the citizens in other counties where the material is spread?
  • If this material is so safe, why doesn’t Charlotte-Mecklenburg County use it on its sports fields, golf courses, municipal areas, recreational areas and citizen’s lawns?
  • If this material is so safe, why isn’t it shipped to South Carolina anymore?
  • If this material is so safe, why does it require permitting and regulations regarding their distribution?
  • If this material is so safe, why is Charlotte trucking it all the way to Gold Hill to dispose of it?
  • If this material is so safe, why are there so many horror stories and advocacy groups against it?
  • Why can’t Charlotte treat their wastewater residuals the way that Cabarrus County does, with a waste incinerator (Class A), instead of land applying class B sludge in Cabarrus County?

Contacts for questions on hearings, objections to permit expansion:

Mr. Tim Wool
U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency, Region 4
(404) 562-9260

NC Dept. of the Environment and Natural Resources (NCDENR) Contacts:

Jon Risgaard, Unit Supervisor- 919-807-6458

Jaime Kritzer, Public Information Officer

NC Dept. of Environment and Natural Resources

1601 Mail Service Center

Raleigh, NC 27699-160

The rest of the DENR Staff-

CMUD Contacts:

Jean Creech, Biosolids Program Manager


Jackie Jarrel, CMUD Treatment Plant Manger


NC House of Representatives for Cabarrus County:

Larry G. Pittman (R) 704-782-3528

NC House of Representatives

16 West Jones Street , Room 1321

Raleigh, NC 27601-1096

Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners:

Elizabeth “Liz” Poole- 704-782-4723

Larry Burrage- 704-792-7744,

Christopher Measmer- 704-783-5880

Stephen “Steve” Morris- 704-932-5126

Jason Oesterreich- 704-794-6655

County Attorney:

Richard Koch- 704-503-5700

Informative Websites:


Video with testimony from NC residents/farmers

Video on biosolids advertising

Story of SC farmer currently embattled with Charlotte Mecklenburg Utilities and Synagro

Winthrop University Article on Sludge

Sewage Sludge Action Network

Cornell University Report

EPA Overview

here is a link to the current and proposed spreading locations, zoom in to find the 4 digit number boxes, those are newly applied permits application areas

Dangers of trucking sludge

Impacts at High Rock Lake

Impact of sewage sludge spreading on wildlife/hunting

from :“and at least one Class A product has been touted as a deer repellant in the popular press.”

From food modernization act of 2013 (

Proposed Sec. 112.53 would prohibit the use of human waste for growing covered produce, except sewage sludge biosolids used inaccordance with the requirements of 40 CFR Part 503, subpart D, or equivalent regulatory requirements. Human waste has a high probability of containing multiple diverse human pathogens, including bacteria, parasites and viruses, at potentially very large populations, thus presenting a significant likelihood of harboring and spreading these various microbiological hazards (Ref. 92).”