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Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Posted by the_virginian Zone 7 NoVA (My Page) on
Fri, Feb 22, 08 at 12:55

I've been using the stuff for years and had an independent lab test it that concluded tap water had more contaminats in higier concentrations it than Milorganite. Why is the so called organic movement luke warm on this product? Is it just the fact it is human poop or does it go deeper, pardon the pun..


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

The concern is more about heavy metals


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

You had both tap water AND your soil tested? By whom? Why don't you send the soil sample to Soil Food Web lab. It should give you more accurate data than other labs on just how alive the soil is....


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

If every household was careful about what goes down the drain and there were no places dumping all kinds of cleaners and other chemicals down drains, it could be a wonderful product. Still, it is supposed to be quality checked, so who knows?


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

The Milorganite and local tap water were tested not the soil. It was a study and test paid for by the DoD and the EPA at a lab my friend was working at for a bioremediation project. In the many years past, before Milwaukee upgraded and regulated its segregated sewer system from industry plus now does continuous testing and monitoring, some heavy metals were in concentrations that were a concern for plants that would be used for human consuption. The new Milorganite is far below the maximums for heavy metals and not even close to many of the common lawn and general purpose fertilizers/supplements like Ironite for heavy metals. My friend did have a control soil sample and indicated the Milorganite that they tested was only slightly highier in certain heavy metals than the virgin soil used in the study. It was also found that the soil was highier in certain heavy metals than the Milorganite. Go figure! Household cleaners are in such dilute concentrations that they are either evaporated out of the sewage or digested out in the treatment process. City tap water eventually can have the same stuff dumped into it, but nobody makes a fuss about that and will water their garden with not at worry. Based on the research I and others have done on Milorganite, it seems like a very clean product compared to many, including some farm waste products that are sold as organic.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

What makes you think that just because some people have a problem with sewage sludge that it is unacceptable to everyone in the organic movement? There are some people that rely on old, outdated information to form an opinion about something and others that just have some objection, but I find many organic gardeners that do not have a problem with using sewage sludge from some places.
Don't make overbroad assumptions based on limited data.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Kimmr: I am sorry if I have come on strong with this one because everytime I mention it in the gardening circles of many types, it gets "poo, pooed" (pard the pun) because rumors about it persist that it is full of heavy metals and dioxins etc which I have found not to be the case today. I am glad to hear there are folks out there that have found "clean" products made from sewage that can be used safely and with great results. My great grandfather remembers when he and his friend as boys had the job of cleaning out "used up" outhouse holes that had been sitting for a year or two, which was still a smelly job. They were told to spread the muck around the grape vines in early Spring and by summer the grapes were huge. They rotated the outhouse holes every two or three years which gave them a great source of clean sludge to use in growing food crops. I agree, if the right source with the right monitoring of sewage is treated properly and used it can be a great alternative to the synthetic products with lots of benefits to the organic and non-organic gardener. Milorganite has worked very well for my garden and many of my friends gardens with excellent results.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Sadly, these are not the 'good old days'. I'm all for proper composting and use of humanure, but not importing sludge to my garden. We have a responsibility to keep toxins out of the soil, which like the air and water, we share in common. This subject came up recently on the soil forum, and I'll copy my post from there.

This article based on research from Cornell U. suggests there are too many unknowns for composted sludge to be used safely. Many chemicals in sludge, and chemical reactions that occur during its treatment or once the sludge is applied, aren't tested for. But there is proof that triclosan (the chemical that makes soaps, toothpastes and many other products antibacterial) survives the treatment process, and that it interacts with the chlorine the water is treated with, to make chloroform, a known carcinogen: one example. If sludge fertilizer were to make its way into the stores here I would protest. I'll be keeping an eye out for it.

Here is a link that might be useful: estrogen mimics, triclosan...

Here is a link that might be useful: persistence


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

The concern over heavy metals is not that the compost is toxic, it is that over time the metals will build up in soils to unacceptable levels. I have toured waste treatment plants who flat out said that they monitor the sites where they land apply the treated waste and when the chromium or whatever reaches a certain level they stop, never to return. I believe the reasoning behind the NOP rules that do not allow sewage sludge is that they do not consider the application to be a sustainable practice.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

The Milorganite manufacter monitors their product very closely so that illegal dumping or other source does not get into the product. The had a case recently that luckily they caught before there was much damage done and none of it got out to the public. What they told me was they flushed out an older part of the sewer system that had not been used since the newer system was made. The old sewer they reconnected was in a formerly industrial area that was converted into condos and office buildings. Some PCBs were detected and the whole system was shut down, the batches sent to commerical customers like city municipal maintenance crews was all recalled except a few batches that were spread on a few ball fields. They paid to remove the top layer of soil and dispose of it. The person I spoke to said they take the purity of their product very seriously and want to keep the safety of using it on food plants unscathed. They also said they tightened their testing for heavy metals and dioxins and made their standards even highier for trace detection of these contaminants. It seems they decontaminated the old sewer and are now working at previous levels for delivery and safety. The really good news is none of it was ever sold to the public. NOP rules may be very strict, but if tap water has a highier concentration of metals and other contaminants, than Milorganite, then where is the risk?


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

As long as a product is produced from class A biosolids I will use it without hesitation, be it milogornite or houcanite or just plain sewage sludge compost.
My personal opinion is that one should use locally produced product and not purchase material that has to be shipped al the way across the country.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I wish we had a local product to purchase as we have virtually no industry in my area. If there is one thing the DC Area is full of.....:') I think there is too much old information about Milorganite floating out there that some people are scared to use it. I have been using it for years with excellent results and have not relied on synthetic fertilizers for 5 years. Milorganite takes care of everything from the lawn, to shrubs and bushes, to veggies and palm trees and bananas.


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Milorganite use over the years.

I wish we had a local product to purchase as we have virtually no industry in my area. If there is one thing the DC Area is full of.....:') I think there is too much old information about Milorganite floating out there that some people are scared to use it. I had my soil tested and no variance existed between the soil with and with out Milorganite applications for heavy metals. No PCBs or other man made chemicals were present, except one on the soil sample for my lawn-arsenic which was probably the result of the former owner of my home who used a lawn service that sprayed and dumped all kinds of nasty chemicals on the lawn. Arsenic is a common crab grass killer ingredient, but even so, the concentration was still way below the dangerous levels. As you might imagine I have no plans to use any arsenic based weed killers on my lawn. On the plus side, I have been using Milorganite for years with excellent results and have not relied on synthetic fertilizers for 5 years. Milorganite takes care of everything from the lawn, to shrubs and bushes, veggies, evergreens, palm trees and bananas. Hardy tropical and tropical plants love Milorganite as you might imagine and I get growth on them that is unreal.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

It's the devil you don't know. There are enough red flags, as Paulns has pointed out, regarding things they are not testing for, to err on the side of caution. This isn't old school, its so new school the EPA hasn't addressed it yet. If the EPA doesn't mandate testing for a substance, it won't happen. And I won't hold my breath waiting for the EPA. How long did it take them to act on CCAs in pressure treated lumber? I'm hearing the same type of arguements here that I heard when the flags first went up on CCAs. Then it was, "It's just a bit of arsenic , it doesn't travel far from the wood". Now in that phrase you can use a number of suspicious substances that go down the drain. Yes, I will probably continue to use it on my lawn and perhaps some ornamentals, but food crops? No thanks. I have better, safer, homemade amendments for there. I don't NEED it there, so why risk it.

tj


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Milwaukee and the brewerys in town many years ago built the system there to handle the sewage waste and at that time much more than half of the waste that went into the digester was grains from the brewerys. As those guys started closing down and battery manufacturers started ramping up a heavy metal contamination problem did occur, but after a time that was fixed and industry now pretreats their waste and removes "stuff" that might contaminate the Milorganite. There are some people that have adopted the philosphy of "do not confuse me with facts my mind is made up" about sewage and more often than not confuse treated sewage with plain untreated sewage sludge.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Lets assume that products like Milorganite are absolutely unequivocally safe as long as every body including quality control and inspection persons do there job properly. Now consider the medical profession including hospitals, nursing homes and government funded institutions with there very strict regulations, certifications and inspections, why is Clostridium Difficile and Staff Infection so common in these facilities? Somebody is not doing there job when they are supposed to.


Mother Nature can be your best friend or worst enemy. When she decides to correct the problem with over population I wonder how she is going to do it? All you can do is to second guess and try to be one of the survivors.


John


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Here is an example of what I am speaking of. This is from a law suit against Sewerage Commission of the City of Milwaukee


John

A) Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) in Milorganite 6-2-0 spiked briefly in September 2006. The spike was caused by solids cleaned out of a hundred-year-old cast iron sewer line during preparation for cure-in-place-lining rehabilitation. Subsequent analysis reported PCB Aroclor 1260 present at 7.1 mg/kg (8/29/06), which fell to 1.7 mg/kg over two weeks (9/10/06). Milorganite 6-2-0 with less than 10 mg/kg total PCBs may be distributed and marketed under federal and Wisconsin regulations. However, a few states have more stringent PCB limits, ranging from 2 mg/kg to 4 mg/kg. It is unknown which jurisdictions received Milorganite containing 7.1 mg/kg PCB (and have a lower limit) because of variable time lags between production, silo storage, boxcar shipment to the bagging contractor, storage and blending before bagging, storage and final shipment after bagging. The circumstances of the abnormal PCB spike have been reported to out-of-state environmental regulators. Enforcement action is not expected.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Feb 29, 08 at 12:14

Virginian, on two separate threads now you focus on heavy metals while side-stepping the issue of persistent contaminants like triclosan and estrogen mimics, for which recent (2006) studies are available. You didn't respond to the link I posted. I'm beginning to wonder whether you work for Milorganite.

You enjoy calling sludge detractors fecophobes, but honestly, would you yourself produce and use your own humanure, where, unlike sludge, you could control the inputs, and use it with confidence?

John makes a good point too, that you haven't factored human error into your equation.

Using processed sewage sludge on farm fields is in effect a way of disposing of industrial waste. If/when all contaminants are tested for and found, that soil can never be fixed because the practice is far too widespread.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

It seams like we are holding Milorganite to a higher standard. I buy all sorts of bagged manures and composts from the local home improvement center. I don't think any of them are tested for contaminates. Who knows what may be in the steer manure blend from HD?? My neighbor is concerned about using his own horse manure because of the deworming and antibiotic chemicals he gives his horses.

I buy certified organic compost from a local supplier. Included in the mulch I have found batteries!! They sort the stuff collected from thousands of citizens who include who knows what in their trash. They make a best effort to sort out trash but plastic (what's in plastic??) and batteries get through.

I used to pass on Milorganite. After reading this thread I bought some!! It seams their testing and monitoring is of higher quality than a lot of other products.

Zeuspaul


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Zuespaul: You hit the nail on the head! Steer, poultry, horse and cow manures and "organic composts" commonly sold at nurseries and the big box retailers could have lots of stuff in it that there is no testing data available for. Milorganite goes above and beyond to show what is in its product and the measures taken to make sure it is safe with even highier standards than those set by the EPA. Let me know how Milorganite works for you as you can grow almost everything with it to epic proportions. One great side effect of Milorganite, it is an excellent deer repellant.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I won't be able to isolate the Milorganite. I am going to mix it with Scott's Organic Choice. Scott's is a bit cheaper at $15 for 29 pounds of 11 2 2 vs $13 for 36 pounds of Milorganite 6 2 0.

Zeuspaul


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Re: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Good points Paulns, re: persistent contaminants in Milorganite. I'll look forward to reading the replies of people who are pro-Milorganite on this issue, and on the other issues you've raised.

I don't think anyone on this forum would be opposed to careful testing of all garden products which are sold to be added to soil. For myself, I'd sure like to know what's going into the ground where I grow food.

Where I worry, is when people cry out "double standards!" -- and then advocate we remove all standards, for everything. I'm all for a fair and open level playing field. But, I don't want to let the foxes decide how the chicken house runs. :)

All the best,
-Patrick
("what would Annpat do?" is my guiding principle, on chicken houses)


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Nice one, Patrick. Annpat would have some choice words as well.

This repeated threads on Milorganite reads too might like high pressure sales pitches. I used to live in Milwaukee and lived through the early troubles of Milorganite. I have been leery of biosolids from heavily industrialized regions and those from area rich in high tech hardware production.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I too would not be so concerned with heavy metals as with other chemicals in sludge. What I have learned about synthetic musks is especially alarming to me. These are used in all sorts of household and personal products. They disrupt the endocrine system (hormones), concentrate in human fat, and have been proven to come out in breast milk. They are enormously persistent in the environment. The bottom of the Great Lakes is paved with synthetic musks from perfumes, shampoos, deodorants, detergents, etc. etc.; take a look at PubMed, the NIH's database of articles published in peer-reviewed journals, and see how many there are on the nasty effects of these synthetic fragrances. The solution is not to use any fragranced materials unless you know for a fact that they are natural only. Does Milorganite test for synthetic musks? I doubt it. And last I checked, although they do use antibiotics on livestock, they do not slather them with gobs of synthetically scented products.

I have no problem with humanure. I would use my own if I could be bothered, because at least I know that I don't use any synthetic fragrances and am not chock full of OTC and prescription drugs. I am focusing on using green manures instead. It's just easier.

These pro-Milorganite posts do indeed read like industrial propaganda. This is the latest type of marketing--going to forums and Wikipedia and such and posting industry propaganda.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Thanks for that information about synthetic perfumes, discouraging as it is. Google triclosan+biosolids and you'll get a week's worth of reading about these chemicals. There are only small quantities in the effluent from treatment plants at any given moment, but over time they build up in the sediment to an alarming degree - and that sediment gets turned into sludge, aka biosolids. If you don't want to believe the EPA, the USDA, the US Geological Survey, and other respected sources...Here's another article.

For those of you using sludge, I wonder what's keeping you from making your own compost. You can make your own safe 'designer compost' virtually for free.

Here is a link that might be useful: concrete enough


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not just heavy metals

Clip from that article:

"...hundreds of thousands of pounds of triclosan and triclocarban are spread on the ground every year. Remarkably, this massive contamination is unregulated and unmonitored. The ecological effects are similarly unexplored.

In fairness, the reason that no one noticed the organic compounds (such as triclocarban) in sludge is that the technique used to measure such things wasn't up to the job. Sludge is a complex matrix that adheres to and masks molecules that are strongly hydrophobic, as are triclosan and triclocarbanso much so that this municipal gunk acted as a "chemical black hole," according to Halden. "It used to be you could dump [manmade] chemicals in the sludge and they'd disappear," he explains, referring to how they became invisible to detection. But in 2004, Halden's group described a method that allowed chemists to peer inside the sludge, something he describes as "one of the last frontiers in analytical chemistry."

What they saw was an accumulation of triclosan in the sludge up to concentrations of 30,000 micrograms per kilogrammore than 6,000 times more concentrated than the incoming sewage. The numbers were even higher for triclocarban: 51,000 micrograms per kilogram in the sludge, which worked out to 8,400 times the concentration of sewage and 300,000 times that of the sewage treatment plant's outflow.

The biosolids industry is regulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which dictates the conditions under which the substances can be used. But in terms of sludge composition, the EPA only set limits for metals and certain pathogenic bacteria..."


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

***For those of you using sludge, I wonder what's keeping you from making your own compost. You can make your own safe 'designer compost' virtually for free.***

Tell me how? With the exception of a few obnoxious weeds I don't throw any organics away. I compost everything and end up with a small fraction of the compost I need. All of my kitchen scraps for a year results in less than a yard of compost. I could easily use 50 yards.

I can get *free* mushroom compost. However it is ten+ miles away. It would cost me $8 in gas and four hours of my time to get two yards in my pick-up! That's two hundred bucks and two weeks full time labor to get 50 yards of compost. Same for horse manure. I've got the money but not the time.

Tree trimmers won't drop off their trimmings here because they don't like the winding road.

I collect about a gallon of coffee grounds at work per week. That's about a quarter of a yard per year. Hardly enough to make a difference.

I can get 25 yards of certified organic compost delivered for a little over three hundred bucks. I don't trust this stuff anymore than I trust the Milorganic as it comes from green trash and I don't trust my fellow citizens.

I'll probably use Scotts Organic Choice in lieu of Milorganite as it's cheaper. But it's got bloodmeal and feathers. Food animals are not treated very well so this isn't such a great option either.

Perhaps my best fertilizer option is alfalfa meal which is a bit more pricey than Scotts.

Zeuspaul


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Zeuspaul: These naysayers have no hard data to prove Milorganite or Scotts is bad, just a "what if" scenario that is more remote than me becoming an Ostrich tomorrow. You are correct, animals have even less regulation when it comes to what they are injected with etc...but even so, the "trace" that might be there is so small it is insignificant. Again, if they have real data or a study to point to not, I heard, I read ....etc. Show it, prove it. The EPA also regulates several man made organic compounds like dioxin, PCBs and pesticides. Look it up on their website for sludge.


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PCB batches were never given to the retail public

I called and asked about this, only some was given to the municipalities that were local and the remainder was disposed of. Some did make it into a park and 3 ball fields and they are being monitored or will have some soil removed. None was sold to the public with those concentrations. Anti-bacterial chemicals are everywhere, in the water, soil and in cow manure because that is what diary cows and other animals/equipment etc. are washed with from time to time. That too winds up in so called organic products like composted cow manure.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

It is hard to prove a negative, isn't it?

Also, it is a strange argument that relies on the old canard: everything is already contaminated, so using my product is no different...

-- except that my product is heavily monitored and subject to an occasional Super Fund response to protect the public.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I hadn't heard that the Scotts product was *bad* from a contaminate point of view.

My concern is the *animal factory farms* and the way animals are treated for profit. It would be different if they were treated humanely. Cows proded with a forklift is a recent memory.

The Scotts product is made of blood, feathers and meat.

I googled triclosan and triclocarban. They breakdown in the soil albeit slowly. So given the fact that they accumulate in sludge..so what?? I don't see any issues if they are used on roses. There may be issues if they are absorbed into vegetables and are eaten but this seams a bit of a stretch to me.

Zeuspaul


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Re: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Thank you for those links and comments, Paulns and Crankyoldman. I'd like to hear specific and respectful replies to what you folks wrote from the pro-Milorganite people, addressing the specific points and issues you raised.

(IMO, a specific and respectful reply doesn't consist of pointing a critical finger at the attitudes of others, then sticking one's head in the sand and ignoring the substance of what others have written, here. But hey, that's just my opinion, and I suppose everyone has the right to their own definition of what an ostrich looks like.) :)

All the best,
-Patrick


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Thank you, Patrick


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Just a question that some of you who are more intelligent than I may answer. In a very healthy soil, or container soil mix that has a very strong microherd, and by very strong I mean ALL the roots at the end of the season show microrhyzea (sp?) chained up along the roots. I guess my point or question is... the microherd feeds itself off of the sometimes not available or processable nutrients and micronutrients, and passes the "waste" from what it eats directly to the roots of the plant-right so far? This process is upposed to give the plants the nutrients "broken down" into plant friendly nutrients that would sometimes burn the plant or damage it in some ways - right so far? Wouldn't the microherd processsomething that is not healthy for the plant such as the discussion here, into something that benefits the plant?? or, would the herd just ignore the non-beneficial or potentially harmful things, and they just stay part of the soil? Thanks TiMo


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

"Why is the so called organic movement luke warm on this product?"

The quick answer to this question is, because Milorganite is not organic. This is why:

"Perhaps you were lulled by the label, the one that said "organic." Perhaps youve read that it repels deer. Perhaps you just believe in "closed systems" gardening. But think twice before you use that bag of Milorganite on your lawn or garden. Milorganite is a widely available, "organic" fertilizer that is made with processed biosolids (sludge) from the Milwaukee sewage treatment system.

Sludge and other biosolids cannot be used in certified organic agriculture. Biosolids are considered synthetic because they contain, in addition to human waste, synthetic substances that have been intentionally or accidentally put into the wastewater system. In the U.S., these include industrial wastes because we do not have source-separated treatment of wastewater. But even residential wastewater can have contaminants, including soaps, detergent, cleansers, solvents and drain cleaners--anything that can go down the drain. The sewage treatment process itself introduces more synthetic materials, including thickeners and stabilizers that are neither natural nor inert."

These circumstances all contribute to the complexity of sludge chemistry. They are the reason sludge is considered a synthetic substance and prohibited in organic production. We think there is cause for broader caution in the use of sludge in agriculture generally, and encourage gardeners to think carefully before using sludge-based products in their yards and gardens."

Here is a link that might be useful: source


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Re: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

TiMo, good questions. I'll try to respond from what I've learned and no doubt others will give you their views.

The microherd has evolved to break down organic materials, and has also evolved to break down rock minerals and even incorporate gases from the air. Some of these processes return organic materials to the soil, some release the components of OM back to the air.

Since the scientific revolution, people have introduced new chemicals into soil. We've also introduced concentrations of natural materials into soils -- higher amounts of natural materials than usually occur in surface soils.

Some of the human-made materials are harmless or even helpful to soils and soil life. Other human-made materials are known and proven to harm soils and soil life, and/or harm people.

For one broad example: the microherd does not decompose lead or cadmium and most other harmful heavy metals. Neither does it ignore them. Those harmful metals can concentrate in plant tissues and cause serious illness in the people who eat the plants.

If you think of the soil ecosystem (the microherd) as a natural result of evolution over billions of years, it's easier to see why the microherd can't always handle chemicals created in the last hundred years. Or work effectively with concentrations of substances which are rarely (if ever) seen in natural soils.

Hope that helps make things more clear. :)

All the best,
-Patrick


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I am assuming some of the push back is on me for asking for proof. Nothing was mean't disrepectfully, but I am tired of people not looking at hard data and drawing conclusions from a heresay axiom. Milorganite has never contaminated anyone's yard with heavy metals, never caused anyone to get sick from pathogens, is well below EPA and other standards for contaminants that other fertlizers, like manure are never held to or tested, yet they are considered organic and safe as a mountain stream to use. I've checked the facts and this is an excellent fertilizer that is natural and safe to use for over 80 years and now even on food crops. You may have a bias against it, and that is your choice, but remember it is not based on data or any real world finding. Show me the data on this product to the contrary and I'm willing to learn. If you can't then it is your opinion, nothing more. If you are so afraid of man made chemicals or metals, don't drink or use water out of your tap either, it is full of them. BTW: I do not work for Milorganite or have any vested interest in its failure or success nor do I sell or benefit from selling it. I am just a very satisfied customer who wants to share my very good experience.


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Organic vs. Super Organic

This is what it comes down to. Mine is more pure, yours a bit less eventhough no one can point to a real World difference or have data to show that the end product has waste residues in it as in food crops.


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Re: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Respectfully, The_Virginian, you still haven't replied to the specific comments (and the various links and quotes) Paulns and Tsugajunkie and JBest123 and Crankyoldman and Althea have made, above. Roughly half the people who have posted on this thread.

You imply others have bias and are operating on hearsay and are not providing any proof or hard data or science. Yet, when people do quote from sources they find online, and provide links to information they think is of value -- you seem to ignore it, as if they hadn't even written on this thread.

Just now, you wrote:

"You may have a bias against it, and that is your choice, but remember it is not based on data or any real world finding. Show me the data on this product to the contrary and I'm willing to learn. If you can't then it is your opinion, nothing more."

Most respectfully sir, you began this thread with the following words:

"I've been using the stuff for years and had an independent lab test it that concluded tap water had more contaminats in higier concentrations it than Milorganite."

In your opening words, you cited anecdotal evidence -- not hard science, not "a real world finding." You have repeatedly stated to others "Show me the data..."

Yet... you have provided none. Only anecdotal evidence from your life; and your personal opinions; and your beliefs.

Over and over, in the threads where you have talked about Milorganite, you have made statements about your strong beliefs of the value of this product without providing any links to citations or sources. And, as I wrote above, when others have provided links -- you refuse to even discuss them. Nor have you discussed their specific objections and comments.

People often write about their personal experiences and beliefs, here. It's entirely welcome, IMO. I've learned many things from reading about the personal experiences and beliefs of other gardeners here.

Your personal experience with Milorganite is also of interest to me. I've never talked with a gardener who used it, much less used it heavily. Nor have I heard of it being used in organic gardening and farming. I'm curious.

However: my curiosity about your personal experiences and your beliefs does not extend so far as to remain silent -- while you attempt to hold others to a higher standard of discussion (and of hard scientific proof) than you yourself are willing to hold.

People have already provided you with links and carefully phrased thoughtful objections regarding some of the issues around Milorganite. You have refused to reply to them, except to dismiss them by calling them names, directly and indirectly. Then, you restate your beliefs in Milorganite as if your beliefs were absolute facts.

IMO, you're not playing by the same rules you are demanding others play by -- and IMO, that is both unreasonable and irrational. It is argument by name-calling, not fair and open discussion. It has nothing to do with science or with proving facts.

Again -- for the third time -- I most respectfully invite you to read and to reply to the comments and links already made above in this thread. Five other posters on this thread (not including me) have raised a variety of objections to the use of Milorganite. Please, do speak directly to the substance of what they have already written, here. Their words deserve just as much respect and consideration as yours, sir.

But... if you're going to just restate your beliefs in the wonders of this commercial product, and call more names against anyone who does not agree with you -- please stop. IMO you are not making a sound and rational case for the use of Milorganite. You are only making yourself sound like an unreasonable zealot. Or a paid employee.

All the best,
-Patrick


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Virginian, you just shot your self in the foot.

This is what it comes down to. Mine is more pure, yours a bit less even though no one can point to a real World difference or have data to show that the end product has waste residues in it as in food crops.


If Biosolids may contain containments that it is not tested for, and barn yard manure has little or no testing at all, how can you say that one is more pure than the other? It seams that you are basing your opinion on feelings.


John


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I was illustrating the lunacy of the debate in which one is "assumed" to be better than the other, not basing it on my feelings. Personally, from what I have observed Milorganite and Manure from commercial suppliers are equally effective and safe to use. Sorry if my point was not clear. As to organic certification, Milorganite is poo pooed, unfairly, but I guess it doesn't meet the super strict criteria that only free range manures can meet.


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Re: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

The_Virginian, you still haven't replied to my multiple requests for you to read and reply to the comments other people have made on this thread. You are continuing to ignore their comments, and mine.

You're also continuing to call names -- "the lunacy of the debate... unfairly... super strict criteria " -- and stating others are making assumptions.

Please stop calling names. You are not practicing reasonable or rational discussion. Argument by ad hominem proves nothing.

If you want a fair and reasonable discussion here, then reply to what other people have written. Ignoring their thoughts, opinions and links does you no credit.

IMO, you are demanding respect and fair consideration for your opinions, your ideas and your beliefs -- which you are not giving to others. Please stop.

All the best,
-Patrick

Here is a link that might be useful: Ad hominem (Wikipedia entry)


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Thank you Patrick. Your information was well presented and clear. TiMo


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Re: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

You're welcome, TiMo. :) What I tried to describe in my short answers to your questions was a very broad, very general idea of how these things work, as far as I understand them.

The original subject of this thread isn't about the questions you asked. If you still have questions or would like further information, I'd suggest posting a new thread with more questions about the issues you raised.

Many people in the organic gardening community are concerned and interested about how things work in soil and biomediation. There's plenty of good information out there which can help organic gardeners & farmers to make informed decisions, and help to build better soil.

I like to hope we can help each other figure out what works best for our own situations. Working together to find answers which make organic gardening work best for all of us.

Please, do feel free to bring these issues forward, any time. When each of us feels free to ask questions and all of us can weigh the answers -- every one of us can benefit.

All the best,
-Patrick


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Thanks Patrick.

Somewhat related to Rootdoctor's question about the microherd, is a news item in the Feb/March '08 issue of Organic Gardening magazine about contaminants found in earthworms living in soil fertilized with biosolids. Earthworms were found to have varying levels of phalates, detergents, pharmaceuticals, and so in their systems. More study is recommended since it is not known what the effects of these contaminants can be as the contaminants move up the food chain.

See link for more info.

Here is a link that might be useful: news release


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

That's an interesting article. I think that as far as evolution has come, we are forcing more on our planet due to the different types of chemicals/compounds we are putting into the groundwater and soils. hmmmmm makes me think Even though all of these compounds were here in some form to begin with, we have changed the chemical composition and made synthetics that probably aren't compatible with mother nature now.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Yep, human poop, that would be the reason I don't trust it. At least the biggest one.
I think there is a chance of contamination. I know the so called experts swear up and down it is safe but it would not be the first time they were wrong.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

If tap water has more contaminants that milorganite, perhaps that is a statement about the quality of the tap water, more than about the quality of milorganite.

Does organic certification forbid the addition of tap water?


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

That's an interesting question. Most tap water has chlorine. Chlorine can form carcinogens when it reacts with some organics. Chlorine is toxic by itself. That is why it is used in tap water.

By what stretch would chlorine be considered organic?

Zeuspaul


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Virginian, you've done this forum a service by raising this subject. The work carried out to detect these chemicals in sludge, which has been reported on in the past few weeks, has been fascinating to follow. Here's another link, similar to Althea's, but points out problems with factory-farm manure too.

"U.S. Geological Survey Scientists and their colleague from Colorado State University at Pueblo published their new findings today in Environmental Science and Technology. The results demonstrate that organic chemicals introduced to the environment via land application of biosolids and manure are transferred to earthworms and enter the food chain.

"...Several compounds were detected in earthworms collected both from the biosolids- and manure-applied fields, including phenol (disinfectant), tributylphosphate (antifoaming agent and flame retardant), benzophenone (fixative), trimethoprim (antibiotic), and the synthetic fragrances galaxolide, and tonalide. Detergent metabolites and the disinfectant triclosan were found in earthworms from the biosolids-applied field, but not the manure-applied field."

zeuspaul with your acreage have you tried growing green manures? And, free mushroom compost only ten miles away sounds doable too - how can sludge from a thousand miles away, that you have to pay for, work out cheaper and more practical?

I understand what people are saying about the difficulty of finding 'clean' fertilizers. We have access to materials that are as pure as can be: washed-up seaweed and dead eelgrass, manure from farmers too hardscrabble to use a lot of drugs on their few animals, plenty of leaves, along with well water tested for 40+ chemicals including the radioactive ones. But we are the only farm-scale growers in the area. I've wondered more than once what would happen if more local people started gardening organically, as we are always encouraging them to. Would there be enough of these fertilizers to go around? One answer is green manures - cheap, easy to grow. Another is to start keeping more animals ourselves - so far we have 4 chickens.

About humanure, why distrust it when you have control over the quality of it? That's one of the beauties of it.

Here is a link that might be useful: science daily


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

+1 on thumbs-up Milorganite usage here.

It's class A, regularly tested, and the results published. Anybody with the math (or friends who like math) can calculate precisely how many mg/kg (or ppm if you prefer) are going onto your soil and you can then decide if that's acceptable.

Add in a good chemist and you start to see that there aren't going to be too many problems and it would be nearly impossible (and nauseating) to intake enough treated soil to harm yourself. Eating out of the bag isn't a great idea, but that's true even of my soybean meal (uncontrolled for rat hair and weevil eggs, among other ickies).

Sodium and chlorine are both fiercely reactive and often explosive, but nobody worries about exploding when they reach for the table salt. It's bad for your blood pressure, but that's another story. Sodium chloride is sodium and chlorine, but the molecule does not have the same characteristics as the sum of the characteristics of the original atoms.

Let's not go into hydrogen (the Hindenburg) and oxygen (no smoking or open flame, really, we're not kidding) that make water...which we spray to put out several types of fires.

That it's processed poo doesn't bother me a bit. Farmers around here use the unprocessed stuff (don't go into the farmlands in late March or early April without a gas mask. 'Nuff said). It's processed. By the time the bacteria and kiln processes get done with it, E. coli counts are extremely low. I probably get more from keeping my toothbrush in the bathroom.

I'll warrant the squick factor of using human poo is kind of high for some people and that is a perfectly valid reason for not using it. To each his/her own. My gross-out level on that kind of thing is pretty high.

It's not a matter of zero risk, but managed risk. If you want zero risk...well, good luck with that. Even the purest organics can foster fungal and bacterial growth that isn't in your immune system's best interest.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

There seem to be two camps here, separated by a one-way mirror.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Yes, it's kind of like the proverb that "The grass is greener on the other side of the fence." Then when you try that grass, you find problems there that you didn't see before, and you go back to your KNOWN grass with its known problems.

I suppose that there could be some toxics in some garden spots that are unknown to a gardener. Perhaps some bad stuff was burned or dumped there years ago. I think of urban community gardens. Perhaps and perhaps not. I guess the moral is that we don't like uncharted territory too well.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

BonK BONK,
Check out what just happened to Augusta, GA

http://www.ag.auburn.edu/aaes/communications/highlights/fall96/cattle.htm

halfnosedJack and the Dawg


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Here's how safe biosolids are:

http://www.kansascity.com/440/story/519856.html

"Fecophobia" my left behind.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Thanks, Cranky, for the informative link. Think it will influence our Milorganite Man?


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

If they dont keep drinking water safe, why are biosolids safe?


http://www.newsmax.com/newsfront/pharmawater_i/2008/03/09/79023.html


John


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Onbections aside, none of you offer and still do not produce proof of any kind that Milorganite is harmful. The small trace of heavy metals found in Milorganite, which is often times lower than the soil you are going to apply it to, one would need to do a heavy application every year (Cu-Copper would be the first to reach load limit)for 278 years to reach the load limit set by the EPA and has be re-assessed by the National Acedemy of Sciences. Dioxins and PCBs have been independently shown to be non-existant or barely detectible, which is more than can be said of our drinking water supply. Feelings and phobias are still not proof-sorry if that hurts a few feelings. The more research that is being done on biosoilds both class A and B shows them to be more than safe. It is clear so called organic gardeners and practices are at the extreme with an adherence to an agenda, not science.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

It is clear so called organic gardeners and practices are at the extreme with an adherence to an agenda, not science

Virginian,

I think that this statement might be a bit inflammatory. Insinuating that the entire "organic gardening" movement and its practices are about some agenda (assuming you mean a political agenda) and not simply about people who want to use smart, healthy, and sustainable practices that nurture natural systems and leave things in good shape for those that are bound to follow us, is a bit extreme. Also, from my experience, those involved in "organic gardening" in fact do tend to take science rather seriously and follow the results of it.

I think the skepticism about milorganite seems to be prudent, personally, even though I'd like to see the results that I know you get with it! It obviously works wonders in your garden! ;-)

However, with the level of unknowns that have been presented by folks just in this thread alone, and by the articles and columns I've read elsewhere on the web by independent sources (sorry but I won't trust a study done by Milorganite, Inc itself!), some caution does seem wise.

At any rate, you are obviously comfortable with the use of the product and feel it poses little or insignificant risk. For your sake and those that may live there in the future, I sure hope you're right! I am just not as comfortable taking that risk. And make no mistake, there is a risk involved.

I think I'll stick with leaf humus and organic materials I get from my yard, as well as shredded bark and wood that comes from trusted sources. Nothing is completely safe, as you pointed out, but I certainly think prudence is good.

Also, I would enjoy seeing a link or something that shows the results of the lab testing that you had done on your soils. That sounds fascinating! Can you share it?


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Miracle Gro?

I wonder if anyone feels this way about Miracle Gro, as that is something that I HAVE used! Thoughts?


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

It is true not all, but many in the so called "organic" movement to gardening are bordering on being zealots, while science has shown that Milorganite to be extremely safe, load limits for metals are in the 100s of years and the fact there has never been a documented case of Milorganite causing harm to anyone. I'm not refering to some other lesser quality class B biosolid that others are referencing. The independent research was done for the DoD and it is not in the public domain yet and was not sponsored by Milorganite. I think the risk is more media hype than science and I have looked at the data. I have found similar studies and I will try to post links soon. And yes, I am more than comfortable using the product and the results are amazing. I do use other humus based or wood based products in my yard and occasionally do use Miracle Gro and add urea for that extra boost to the plants.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

  • Posted by whip1 z5 ne Ohio (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 12:12

Virginian, If Milorganite is the best fert on the market, why do you still need to use Miracle Grow and Urea? How do you know the "great results" you've seen aren't from the Miracle Grow?


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

One season I did not use Milorganite and used Miracle Gro on my bananas, cannas and elephant ears. The results were good, but not spectacular. The next season, I used only Milorganite and the results were amazing, more than twice the growth. The next season after that I used Milorganite on the plants twice a season and everyother time I watered I used Miracle Gro spiked with urea. It was like frick'n "Jack and the Beanstalk!" My cold hardy palms put on a foot or more in trunk growth, cannas that were 14 feet high and cold hardy and tropical varieties of bananas that in some cases were over 20 feet high! I am not exaggerating, it was incredible and a sight to behold by July.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 14:47

Virginian you are fixated on heavy metals, and ignore the other, very serious dangers of sewage sludge - ingredients that are not tested for.

"What goes down the drain, from ibuprofen to soaps, gets turned out to pasture via toxic sludge, researchers warn

What goes down the drain -- detergents, personal-care products and discarded and excreted medications -- may be out of sight and out of mind, but they are not, unfortunately, out of this world.

Significant amounts of toxic chemicals from households persist in the environment because they end up in sewage sludge. Though pathogens are removed in wastewater treatment plants, no treatment is required to address some of the most abundant chemical contaminants that originate in the home. So sludge and sludge-rich composts, often containing toxic chemicals, are commonly applied to farmland, parks, forests and yards.

Take ibuprofen (its many trade names include Advil and Motrin), for example, the third most consumed drug in the world. Wastewater treatment plants remove 60 to 90 percent of it, but that's not enough, warns a Cornell researcher.

"Given the volume that is consumed, a lot still goes out to the environment," says Anthony G. Hay, Cornell associate professor of microbiology and director of Cornell's Institute for Comparative and Environmental Toxicology. He studies how ibuprofen and other chemicals present in sewage sludge are degraded by microorganisms.

"Even low concentrations of ibuprofen have been found to affect the way fish spawn, so we don't want it accumulating in the environment," says Hay. "Understanding the biological fate is very important for being able to predict the potential for toxicity of compounds. In the case of ibuprofen, we were able to show that it can be degraded to nontoxic intermediates."

Since legislation prohibits dumping sewage sludge in the ocean, most of it in this country is applied to soil for its nutrients and to improve the physical properties of the soil, which is often cheaper than landfill or incineration.

"However, there are no requirements in the U.S. to test for or remediate organic pollutants in sewage sludges, and sludges contain a wide variety of these contaminants that conventional treatment does not eliminate," adds Ellen Z. Harrison, who served as director of Cornell's Waste Management Institute for many years until her recently announced retirement.

Gardeners may unknowingly use sludge-based products, such as free compost, because labeling is not mandated. Some products even use the term "organic" on their labels, says Harrison."


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worth repeating

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 14:48

I think this bears repeating.

Here is a link that might be useful: persistence


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Virginian

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 14:49

You really ought to read about this stuff.


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Why?

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 14:50

Because you seem to ignore it, obsessive-compulsively, focus on heavy metals and call us fecophobes.


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Fecophobes

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 14:51

Which is a red herring.


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So how about

How about reading these articles I've posted, and others have posted in the past, on your thread - convenient! - and then get back to us?


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it looks like

  • Posted by paulns NS zone 6a (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 14:54

One could just keep posting like this indefinitely. Tempting.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Does anyone really care that some traces of headache medicine and hormones and antibiotics go into their compost or organic fertilizer? It seems a more desirable fate than into the river with aquatic organisms. If so, would they avoid putting willow leaves, yams peels, and moldy cantaloups into the pile? Not me. One, they are traces. Two, they likely don't last long in that decomposing environment. Three, they likely are not taken up and translocated in the plants. Four, it wouldn't matter if they were, they are traces.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

  • Posted by whip1 z5 ne Ohio (My Page) on
    Fri, Apr 18, 08 at 19:04

Paulns, If your not careful, you're going to be labeled a zealot, and be scolded for not offering any proof.

Gonebananas, I'm not overly concerned about a little Ibuprofen, but a lot of the more powerful drugs, and other chemicals do concern me. In that regard, the Virginian and I are very similiar. He wants proof to show that they're harmful. I want proof that shows me they're not.


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

For the record, Milorganite is not composted, it is heated to remove pathogens, but not composted. If it were composted, it might break down some of the these suspicious compounds and be less suspect. What I put in my compost and what a large metropolitan area puts down their drain (much worse than ibuprofen) are vastly different animals. And there is a whole lot not tested for, looked for, or that has regulations for-but that doesn't mean its ok.

I know what goes in my compost.

tj


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

I wonder how many people are using sludge and don't know it. Are there any laws requiring labeling of sludge?

I have been trying to find out which Kellogg garden products contain sludge. The only product I have found labeled as such is Nitrohumus. It lists biosolids as an ingredient on the bag. As far as I know it is all sludge but you sure can't find out at the Kellogg garden site. The bag says to check their site for heavy metal content but I can't find it anywhere! I can't find a reference to sludge or biosolids anywhere on their site!

I have been using one of their products which lists forest products, kelp, bat guano and a few other nice sounding ingredients and no mention of biosolids or anything that could be interpreted as such. It smells a lot like Nitrohumus and Milorganite.

A little Internet searching...according to one source linked below seven of eight Kellogg products contain biosolids.

quoted material
*****This market involves using compost and dried products in retail blending and bagging operations. The benefits of using organic residuals, such as compost and dried products, to amend soils and improve growth of gardens and crops are numerous and well documented.

In the southern California marketplace, four suppliers dominate sales at the retail level: Kellogg Garden Products, Scotts Hyponex, Western Organics, and Whitney Farms. The products are sold as topsoil or soil amendments. A total of eleven compost product manufacturers and suppliers are known to be operating in the local retail marketplace. Several of these manufacturers supply products to K-Mart, Target, and Wal-Mart for their in-house brands. Of these manufacturers, three firms, Kellogg Garden Products, Western Organics, and Scotts Hyponex, utilize biosolids in their product formulations.

The biosolids portion of the southern California marketplace appears to be dominated by Kellogg Garden Products. Of the eight different products marketed by Kellogg, seven contain digested, composted biosolids. In the case of Scotts Hyponex, fifteen different products were available but only one product contains digested, composted biosolids. A significant portion of the biosolids used by Kellogg and Scotts Hyponex is obtained from EKO at IEUAs existing compost manufacturing facility. It was not possible to determine the relative quantities of biosolids-based compost moving through the distribution chain of these two companies. This remains proprietary information. These firms expressed a desire to partner with biosolids generators to acquire additional compost material.*********

Here is a link that might be useful: biosolids


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RE: Concrete Proof Milorganite is bad

Patrick: When I tried to identify some plants to use for some casual bioremediation, the literature I searched indicated that few plants uptake lead systemically, rather that dust and rain splatters deposit on the surface of the plant. Proper cleaning of food plants was found to be more important than lead content of the soil, in the studies done of urban gardens with contaminated soil. Persistent contaminants, however, give me pause about using a biosolids product on my property because I tend to make a salad after weeding my lawn.


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