I will compliment the author on catching his mistake about Durham, however let me point out that though Durham county has no spray fields listed on the DENR 2009 data sheets the city of Durham does spray 1115.3 acres of land in neighboring Orange county withe their sewage-industrial waste.
There is another sleight of hand you have to look for, besides city vs. county or Class A vs. class B; don't be fooled when "sludge" is sprayed on a field and you are asked to explain why it doesn't smell... the material pulled out of a water treatment plant is also called "sludge" but of course it is not any where near the level of contamination as the "sludge" from a sewage facility, and is of course of little concern by comparison.
Dear Indy Editors: Please let me retract my hasty suggestion that y'all had given these two arguments, Kids health vs. Self serving conflict of interest equal time;
the same damming charge oft laid at the feet of main-stream journalism, a tidy little trick of corporate control that proposes debate on an issue that is cut and dry...
you do not spray sewage waste from a city near a school...
there is no countervailing opinion.
My retraction is given after having more carefully parsed the form of this article, looking at direct quotes attribute to supporters of potentially harming children vs those wanting to prevent harm to children, and to indirect quotes where the author simply says "According to DENR,..." or "as critics note".
Here is the data on the unintentional bias in this article, once it is parsed and served with a dollop of ire:
Those working to prevent sewage waste spray near schools got 5 direct quotes vs. those who would put children in Harms Way, with 7.
Preventing harm: number of total words in direct quotes: 85 words
Allowing continued sewage waste spraying near schools: 145... almost twice as many words in direct quotes.
Preventing harm: Number of words in indirect quotes: 185
Allowing continued sewage waste spraying near schools: 225... only 20% greater.
Rural dumping of "beneficial fertilizer"?
Are you saying all cities are financially irresponsible?
Sadly, this article and the vaunted Indy have been captured by the fallacies and lies of the industry which has cropped up around this liability transfer process only 20 year ago (it was dumped in the ocean prior to 1993 after congress said it was killing the marine environment).
I'm troubled when an Indy reporter can't hold a story arc... You say it's dumped in the rural areas of the state and even show a map but in the second half of your story you seem to forget the key point: you allow state officials and their advocates, those with conflict of interest, to make statements contrary to your rural facts and then fail journalistically to call them to task for their fallacious advertisements; an investigative journalist would not drop the ball like this when children's health was at stake. I suggest a reading Greg Pallast to put a little lead in your pencil.
Rural dumping of "beneficial fertilizer"... Cities paying out of their budget and raising your city taxes to haul and regulate this practice for "cash strapped farmers" who pay no city tax and do not vote in the city?
What responsible city accountant would legally be allowed to transfer millions from the city treasurer to non-residents?
If in fact this industrial and sewage waste were truly beneficial would not the city at least offset their city park and city golf course fertilizer costs, if not bag it and sell it?
This must be the first of a multi-part series because I can't imagine our honorable Indy editors would allow a reporter to just skim the surface on a story about the Achillies heel of American municipalities when there is an average of 1-2 schools per county where this waste is sprayed across the street.
You are on the front lines of a national issue, where the Burlington city council is poised to finally discuss and act to call a spade a spade on June 3 at their next work session, where the group leading this fight has maneuvered it onto the agenda after a 5 year campaign and our great hope, the Indy's editors, have failed to grasp the importance of this story choosing to allow it to become a yet another main-stream media, formulaic he-said/she-said.
No mention was made of the core Indy readership in Carborro yet they drink Burlington's class B sewage and industrial waste that is sprayed only a mile upstream of their Cane Creek reservoir, along stump creek (that should read spraying 10% active, live bacteria and virus content to put it in perspective for your probiotic fans, but don't forget Burlington's East sewage facility produces the highest flame retardant levels in their sewage waste in the country)
Or that Carborro's Piedmont Health was hired to open a new health clinic at Sylvan Elementary this year to reduce the highest number of sick-days lost of any school in the Alamance school system, which was recorded in 2010 a year after Burlington was caught spraying beside the school and responded by saying they would turn their nozzles down to reduce aerial transmission in future, and notify teachers a week in advance, which they promptly forgot.
And no mention that new Nurse Practioner, Leslie Sharpe, who's been on the job 6 months, was not told about the 500 acre sewage facility across from her school when she took the job, though the school system was negotiating with the city over this at the time.
Or the family owning the field across from Sylvan being the owner of a grocery store chain in Burlington while the corn grower lies to his buyers at Townsend Mills in Siler City about his "fertilizer": some cash-strapped farmer! ...he owns a NASCAR team and mansion in Salisbury.
No mention, either, about the children your readership has to share a waiting room with at UNC when they develop rheumatoid arthritis in the first grade... 3 at one school that year.
Your readers deserves better journalistic performance.
Please! At what point in the production of windmill power do we risk the health of our groundwater, aka our economic Lifeblood!?
NC is blessed with abundant mountain and off-shore wind potential. Every dime wasted on this rush--to-frack could better be spent in R/D for windpower development for our state.
Sir, Leave alone this "Goodliest Land" of North Carolina or I will invoke the ghost of Charles Kuralt to Frack you up... You should have no worries though... DENR says you'll be safe if it can just be properly regulated. (ahem... implying, of course, what has taken place, to date, has been an unregulated stampede).
I'm sorry.. Safe for water? Drilling mud of secret recipe pumped into the ground water we drink, then brought back to the surface full of metals and salts from the deep and sent to our sewage plants; how is this safe? These facilities are not able to remove toxins from simple city sewage, let alone are they designed to handle the new Fracking brew; They simply move toxins from the water fraction of sewage to the solid fraction (the digested cell walls of plants and animals we eat). They put the "cleaned" water into our creeks and the solids full of un-changed toxins from our cities, and now our Frackers, into sewage sludge which is spread on farm fields across the US and Europe.
But that's cool. The EPA says that's ok. Go on. Take a chance with our farmland. What's the worst that could happen.
But what about the Earthquake risk. That connection to fracking is undeniable and affects us all.
Given that water quality is being argued over, (our state's DENR officials seem to have produced a warning document that some politician or staff a**hole altered to meet the needs of their corporate pay-master), maybe it's time, early stages, to switch the argument to earthquakes... while there's still time.
What a beautiful, courageous example. Where can we send a check to support your Jan 12 court date?
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