Texas Ranchers Sue Fertilizer Company for Toxic Contamination

Some ranchers in Texas have drawn parallels between the spread of a poisonous fertilizer from a neighboring farm and the Chornobyl tragedy.  The eco-disaster and impact are essentially the same as far as they are concerned.

The Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant’s No. 4 reactor went boom, destroying the structure and sending radioactive particles hurtling into space.

Just a few weeks later, thirty lives had been lost, and more than a hundred were crippled by radiation.

Animals were born with abnormalities, people suffered detrimental health effects, and millions of acres of agriculture and woodland were polluted.

The farmers in Texas are concerned that their community may face the same problems.

Farmers in Johnson County are claiming pollution on their property and have filed a lawsuit against Synagro, a fertilizer manufacturer that incorporates treated human waste into its products.

Biosolids are a kind of fertilizer that Dana Ames discovered in the region. Ames, a detective from the Johnson County Constable’s office, was hired by rancher Tony Coleman to uncover the truth. 

She found biosolids. These are derived from human waste and include PFAS, a class of chemicals referred to as “forever chemicals” by experts.

In front of the Johnson County Commissioners Court, Ames laid out her findings. There was “pervasive contamination” on the properties of the victims, she said to the commissioners.

Ames investigated the origins of the wastewater with the help of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER) organization and found that it had originated from a wastewater treatment plant in Fort Worth.

All people ingest PFAS, a complex set of synthetic chemicals included in many everyday household items (e.g., cookware, cosmetics, candy wrappers, pizza boxes, etc.).

Everything that doesn’t belong in a human waste stream goes to the wastewater treatment plant, where it is transformed into the inexpensive fertilizer marketed nationwide from sewage sludge.

Ranchers in Johnson County are facing the prospect of having to put down their livestock and give up farming altogether due to the use of supposedly harmful fertilizer.

Animals and well water samples from the farms tested positive for dangerously high levels of PFAS. 

There was contamination everywhere.