Clean Water Current

NACWA Letter Asks Agriculture Department to Help Ensure Federal Coordination & Support of Key Biosolids Issues

Aug 31, 2022

NACWA sent a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack on August 25 seeking additional collaboration and support from USDA around the land application of biosolids.

The letter, which follows comments that Sec. Vilsack made about biosolids earlier this year in Congressional testimony and increased pressure on land application around the country, notes that greater clarity and assurances regarding land application is critical for both the public clean water sector and the agricultural community.  It also includes correspondence that NACWA has previously had with EPA on the issue, including a recent letter from EPA.

NACWA notes that the growing uncertainty around biosolids land application due to PFAS concerns has significant impacts on both public clean water utilities as well as farmers, highlighting how the recent ban on land application in Maine has upended important beneficial relationships between POTWs and farmers.  The letter also explains that the varying state approaches being taken to land application necessitate strong federal leadership and support, and requests that USDA take a more active role in coordinating with EPA on this critical concern.

NACWA will continue to push at all levels of the federal government for clear, continued support of land application, especially as issues around PFAS and other emerging contaminants increase.  Members with questions can contact Nathan Gardner-Andrews, NACWA’s Chief Advocacy & Policy Officer.  

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