California Court Upholds Biosolids Recycling Ruling

Allan Gerlat, News Editor

March 13, 2013

1 Min Read
California Court Upholds Biosolids Recycling Ruling

A California appeals court has upheld a lower court ruling allowing the recycling of biosolids in agricultural applications in Kern County.

The ruling supported a preliminary injunction against a county measure passed by voters designed to ban in unincorporated areas of the county the use of agricultural fertilizer made from recycled municipal sewage sludge, or biosolids. The Fifth Appellate District for California supported the city of Los Angeles and other plaintiffs in upholding a Superior Court judgment, according to the court opinion.

The appeals court agreed with the plaintiffs that the ballot measure is pre-empted by the California Integrated Waste Management Act and it conflicts with a state constitutional principle known as the regional welfare doctrine, because it damages Southern California communities that rely on recycling biosolids to farmland, added Jimmy Slaughter, counsel for Los Angeles with the firm of Washington-based Beveridge & Diamond P.C., in an e-mail.

The Water Environment Federation (WEF) supported the ruling. “WEF and its members spend significant time and resources to educate the public and local decision makers regarding the current science on the benefits of recycling biosolids to farmland,” said Amanda Waters, general counsel for the WEF, in a statement. “The opinion provides significant precedent in this regard.”

About the Author(s)

Allan Gerlat

News Editor, Waste360

Allan Gerlat joined the Waste360 staff in September 2011 as news editor. He was the editor of Waste & Recycling News for the first 16 years of its history, and under his guidance the publication won 27 national and regional awards.

Before Waste & Recycling News, Allan worked at another Crain Communications publication, Rubber & Plastics News, which covers rubber product manufacturing. He began with the publication as associate editor and eventually became managing editor, a position he held for nine years.

Allan is a graduate of Ohio University, where he earned a BS in journalism. He is based in Sagamore Hills, in northeast Ohio.

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