Why are modern cities disposing of their Toxic Sewage Sludge (TSS) on rural environments? Here is some background by Dr. David Lewis, internationally recognized research microbiologist, and author of the book "Science for Sale"
"Early 1970's - Congress of USA passes Clean Air and Clean Water acts - but no Clean SOIL act. We have no way to protect the soil like we do, air, and water" (Until these acts were passed, ocean dumping of sewage sludges was the most common way cities got rid of their toxic burden).
"What a wastewater treatment plant does is clean up the water, but it takes all those chemicals, all those priority pollutants we worry about that are highly neurotoxic - they are carcinogenic, they are mutagenic (In genetics, a mutagen is a physical or chemical agent that changes the genetic material, usually DNA, of an organism and thus increases the frequency of mutations above the natural background level) - all of those are concentrated at the water treatment plant in sewage sludge. The EPA in 1978 decided that what we should do with this is put it on land. Forget the fact that sewage sludge now has every known priority pollutant in existence that we know of, it has every chemical that we don't know of - and no matter how long we live, we probably will never know the vast majority of chemicals that are out there that we are being exposed to - they will never be identified. What we do know is that they are all there in that sewage sludge!"
So in 1988 Congress bans the ocean dumping of sewage sludges over health concerns, and the EPA starts promoting land application of sewage sludges in tons per acre on farms, forests, playgrounds, school athletic fields, and other public and private lands. (Please note that it was considered TOO TOXIC to continue with ocean disposal, but illogically, the public is supposed to believe that land disposal as somehow acceptable?! The toxic sludge is just the same - the thousands of pollutants now are to be spread on soils meant to sustain future generations!) EPA says it has nitrogen in it and phosphorus, so we'll spread it, provide it to farmers to put on their crops, golf courses, everywhere. Can you imagine this!?" None of the scientists at the EPA at the time I was working there, could imagine this. Unanimously, all the scientists working in that office did their best to stop this, but politics and industry, money, big money … had other ideas"
"In 1988 we increased pollutants a million-fold (collected and concentrated in the waste water treatment plants), spread them around us instead of putting them out in the bottoms of oceans - a real doomsday scenario as far as environmental exposures. We took pollution, when we did this, from the general population, to have it hauled out to primarily economically and educationally disadvantaged communities - This is an environmental justice issue!!" (Note that it was around this time that the US government actively promoted this reckless disposal method to other countries around the world - selling it as a form of "recycling" and a great source of much needed nitrogen and phosphorous. The fact that it meant spreading concentrated amounts of toxins throughout the environment was glossed over).
"So the modern "solution" is no longer "dilution" (like the old slogan - "the solution to pollution is dilution") now the solution is the exact opposite - let's concentrate everything, a million times higher, and let's put it all around us, on school playgrounds, and golf courses, farms, and forests. Now it is concentrated selectively in human populations that don't have the political power or the economic means to even complain about it ... and if they did, they are faced with a body of literature that says this is good for you."
"The complexity of that mixture ... no organism has the genetic machinery capable of dealing with so many different assaults at one time - this is what we as humans are doing to the earth - because we do not have a Clean Soil Act. This to me is the heart of the problem; it is not so much that it is lead nor mercury or aluminum, our biggest challenge is that we've taken everything, mixed it together, and there is no lifeform on earth that has ever been exposed to anything like this, that has the genetic machinery needed, if it is even possible, to live in that kind of environment."
Environmental exposure - "In reality we all live in an ocean of chemicals, an almost infinite number ... and a lot on their own are not mutagenic but when mixed with others, they can become mutagenic. We don't factor that in when we look at this problem."
"We can't solve any of these problems by regulating a handful of chemicals, it's insane. How is regulating 100 or so priority pollutants going to change this picture? It isn't! Not when we've got infinite numbers of chemicals. We have to eliminate pollution at the source. We can't have pharmaceutical companies, or chemical companies dumping a universe of stuff into the waters ... and then try to regulate a few of them!" (Dr. David Lewis advocates using Pyrolysis as a clean, sustainable method to deal with our toxic sludges).
(quotations from the following video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uzfNSw9xG-c&feature=youtu.be )