In past years, the use of the biosolids has raised concerns from members of the community, particularly over potential health risks. There have been complaints in the past of biosolids’ fumes causing coughs and sickness, and some feel that not enough has been done to disprove a causative link.

“It’s like smoking cigarettes,” said Vincent Lytle, an Earlysville, Virginia resident whose land is adjacent to two farms that have applied biosolids on their property, relating the sludge to cigarette companies’ attempts to obscure the health impact of tobacco. “You haven’t proved it’s not bad.”

There’s a reason that no sludge application may occur within 400 yards of schools and hospitals or 100 yards of surface waters..