The Massachusetts Water Resources Authority has been selling its sludge for the past 30 years, piping biosolids to a Quincy wastewater treatment plant that dries out the slurry and packages it into bags of Bay State Fertilizer. MWRA sells and donates this fertilizer to farms, golf courses, and other properties throughout New England. On December 1, 2019, The Boston Globe reported that MWRA tests, conducted last March, found PFAS chemicals in sludge at levels of 18,000 per trillion.
PFAS chemicals are a class of chemicals which are hazardous at extremely low levels. The EPA has set the safe level for 5 PFAS chemicals in water at 70 parts per trillion. Massachusetts has set the safe level even lower, at 20 parts per trillion for 6 PFAS individually or combined.
PFAS chemicals are linked to an array of health problems, including liver issues, kidney and testicular cancer and high cholesterol.