This sludge issue will make you re-think not having your own garden.

by Mike Silvestri- The Examiner

A chance to score a federal research facility is driving the University of Georgia to deny intentionally spreading false data that supported the Environmental Protection Agency’s sewage sludge program, claims an attorney for a former EPA scientist.

The university is one of five finalists to house the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility, which will study emerging terrorist and natural disease pandemics.

But it is also the target of a lawsuit filed by David Lewis, the former EPA microbiologist, claiming the school accepted federal grant money in 1999 to knowingly publish data based on fabricated information from wastewater treatment plants in Augusta, Ga.

“The False Claims Act lawsuit will prove, in great detail, how every level of supervision at the University of Georgia, including the office of the president, was directly involved in publishing the fake scientific data and preventing faculty members and a visiting scientist, Dr. David Lewis, from blowing the whistle on the scientific fraud occurring at EPA and the University of Georgia,” Lewis’ lawyer Edwin Hallman, wrote in a Feb. 29 letter to UGA President Michael Adams.

“I can fully appreciate the ramifications it would have on the University of Georgia’s bid to become a national center for agro-bioterrorism research if President Adams were to truthfully acknowledge the role his office has played in the fabrication of scientific data,” Hallman added in a March 20 letter.

Adams declined comment on the lawsuit, spokesman Tom Jackson said.

The university’s School of Agriculture is headed by a former University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources associate dean, Jay Angle, whom Georgia lauded in news releases for his success dispelling environmental concerns about sewage sludge.

A federal judge recently ruled against the U.S. Department of Agriculture and found that sludge treated in Augusta contained heavy metals that were thousands of times over the permitted toxicity levels.

But Georgia Assistant Attorney General Julie Anderson said that the reports referenced in federal Judge Anthony Alaimo’s opinion are different from those Lewis alleges were intentionally fabricated.

Anderson wrote in response to Hallman: “Even accepting Judge Alaimo’s finding that certain UGA scientists’ research or advice was ‘faulty or incomplete,’ which we think we can prove otherwise, that finding does not support a claim that any of the defendants ‘knowingly’ submitted a false claim to the federal government.

Additional information:

 The Sludge Scam: Should Sewage Sludge Fertilize Your Vegetables (1997)

Sewage Sludge is being dumped on (non-organic) farms all over the Country