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Natural Awakenings Lehigh Valley

Sludge-Free Advocates Protect Communities

After the 250-acre farm near the home of Howard Wilder, of Lower Mount Bethel Township, started spreading processed sewage sludge as a fertilizer, Wilder’s concern about the health and safety of residents turned into a grass-roots effort to educate the community and elected officials. With the help of United Sludge Free Alliance, Wilder’s investigations found that the sludge in his area is municipal waste from cities throughout Pennsylvania, as well as five neighboring states including New York and Delaware. The group, Sludge Free Lower Mount Bethel, was formed and presented petitions with over 400 signatures to elected officials. The ultimate goal is to change legislation that protects the policy of spreading modern waste in the communities that grow our food.

“My family has lived here for 150 years, so we’re not newcomers to this area,” says Wilder. “A lot of people are afraid their health will be affected. Now we can’t go outside, my eyes burn and my lungs hurt—it’s not like regular manure. Our concerns are about the pollution and what will happen to the crops and animals.”

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