Residents fight against sewer sludge near their homes

Spotsylvania County, Va. (WTVR) – Ever since Toby Chittam was 22, she dreamed of moving into this house on Fairview Road near Lake Anna in a historic area of Partlow.

She bought it 47 years later.

“I’m the 4th owner since the 1700’s,” she said.

But now, Chittam fears she’ll have to give it up because a company called Recycle Systems plans to spread human waste or sewage sludge on the property across the street.

If the sludge were solid, she says it wouldn’t create an airborne hazard.  But she says it will be in liquid form, and for her that’s a health concern. She has lupus.

“The doctors have told me that one more time of pneumonia and a fever of 105  for 10 days-I`m not going to make it,” Chittam said.

The company already has one permit, but she and 70 other families are trying to stop a second permit for further dumping.

“We are worried about the health issues, asthma, lupus, and water contamination,” said resident, Claude Maxwell.

“My 8 year-old son. Is he going to make it to nine?” said one concerned parent.

Thursday residents met with health and environmental experts.

A member from the Department of Environmental Quality said buffers near streams should keep run off from going into rivers.

“It is possible that odors can have affects on people, but again, when you look at the information that’s out there, the data really isn’t very conclusive in terms of cause and effect,” said Dr. Brooke Rossheim with the Virginia Department of Health.

But, Rossheim admits there are gaps in knowledge, and that’s what concerns the families.

“Personally I don’t want to die. This stuff is going to make me really sick,” Chittam said.

Chittam said on December 5th, Health and Environmental experts will review the site.

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