Human feces is being sprayed on a field near the South Fork of the Rivanna Reservoir, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow, and it’s perfectly legal. The neighbors, understandably, aren’t thrilled. Recyc Systems, of Culpeper, has a permit to spread the waste—aka “biosolids”—on a total of ten square miles of the county, which they haul down here from Washington D.C.’s wastewater sewage plant. It’s all done for free because—would you believe it?—apparently people won’t pay to have human feces spread all over their property, but they will have it done for nothing. A recent study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that biosolids are full of all the horrible things that your body has the good sense to excrete, including steroids, hormones, flame retardants, and heavy metals. There are some legal restrictions that help, like that livestock can’t graze on the land for thirty days after application, and a plan has to be submitted that explains how phosphorous and nitrogen will be kept out of the watershed.
Even if the county wanted to limit this, there’s no reason to think that they could—it’s regulated by the state, and the county isn’t given the power to regulate it.