Texas ranchers sue fertilizer company over land contamination

Farmers in Johnson County, Texas, have filed a lawsuit against the fertilizer manufacturer Synagro, accusing the company of contaminating their land and causing the deaths of various animals. The lawsuit alleges that the use of the company’s fertilizer products, which include treated human waste, has rendered their farmland unusable.

The group of ranchers claims that cattle, horses, and fish have died or become sick due to the toxic effects of the fertilizer. According to reports, rancher Tony Coleman is among those affected, with significant losses including 10 cows, two horses, and entire fish populations in five ponds. Coleman described the situation as having stripped him of his livelihood and expressed fear and concern for the community’s future.

Synagro insists that its fertilizer products meet all governmental standards. However, the farmers argue that the presence of PFAS—perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, often referred to as “forever chemicals”—in the biosolids from human waste is to blame for the widespread contamination. These substances are known for their persistence in the environment and potential health risks.

The investigation, led by Johnson County Constable Detective Dana Ames, revealed that the toxic chemicals originated from a Fort Worth wastewater treatment facility where the biosolids are processed before being used in Synagro’s fertilizers. The detective’s findings, presented to the Johnson County Commissioners Court, highlighted the pervasive nature of the contamination.

Further tests on farms revealed extremely high levels of PFAS in both the animals and the well water, confirming the widespread contamination. This has led to fears among the local farming community about the long-term viability of their land and the health of their water sources.

The situation has escalated to the point where some ranchers are considering abandoning their farms and euthanizing affected animals to prevent further suffering. The community is calling for a nationwide ban on such fertilizers to protect future generations and prevent similar incidents elsewhere.

Source: Daily Mail

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