The Fudge on Sludge

Toxic Sludge Is Good For YouDavid Lewis, a University of Georgia professor and former Environmental Protection Agency scientist, is suing officials at his university for publishing allegedly fraudulent research funded by the federal government. In court documents, Lewis claims that university researchers, who were paid more than $1.5 million in federal grants, intentionally distorted toxic substance amounts in the sludge from wastewater treatment plants in Augusta, Georgia, by collecting samples only during droughts, when levels would be "misleadingly low." Last month U.S. District Court judge Anthony Alaimo ruled that sludge treated in Augusta's facilities had metals concentrations thousands of times over allowed toxicity levels, noting that the University of Georgia's report on those facilities was "faulty and incomplete." Lewis has investigated the harmful side effects linked with the sludge since 1998 and argued in 2005 that his research led to his firing from the EPA. (We examined the sludge issue in our 1995 book, Toxic Sludge Is Good For You.)