For as long as humans have been farming, they’ve been looking for ways to better grow their crops. Manure was a huge jump forward in farming technology around 8000 years ago because nitrogen and phosphorous were abundant in it. The ‘logic’ recently emerged that applying treated humsn sewage sludge to farmland could be an innovative way to fertilize.

It turns out, this may not have been a good idea. The practice began this decade in Indian River County, and several ranches out west tried it out. This application of treated human waste was and remains to this day completely allowed and legal under Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Florida Department of Agriculture. Click here to check out this fun video that TCPalm put out on the issue.

The Indian River Neighborhood Association decided to take action and encouraged our County Commissioners to ban the practice of biosolid applications. This issue first came up in July and the commission voted for a six-month moratorium on these applications. This moratorium has just about expired, and so at this week’s commission meeting, the county took the first steps in renewing this ban. 

IRNA would like to thank the County Commission for its politically courageous six-month moratorium on biosolids dumping in our county.  We also appreciate the cooperation of the local ranchers who worked with the County to comply with this ban, and even voluntarily stopped application of biosolids when it looked like they could be causing environmental damage. 

Since the original ban, further testing has revealed the serious consequences of biosolid dumping near Blue Cypress Lake; especially the increase of phosphorous and the unknown, long-term human health effects of the toxin microcystin.

With the second six month ban in place, and science showing that biosolids are bad for the environment, IRNA hopes the new administration in Tallahassee will convince the DEP to ultimately ban the land application of biosolids permanently. This will be a legislative priority for the IRNA in 2019.