Haedicke and MacRae pen op-ed for BDN about banning agricultural use of wastewater sludge

Michael Haedicke, associate professor of sociology and faculty fellow at the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Sustainability Solutions, and Jean MacRae, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at the University of Maine and a Mitchell Center faculty fellow, wrote an opinion piece for the Bangor Daily News about how Maine needs to do more than ban the agricultural use of wastewater sludge to limit people’s exposure to PFAS. Haedicke and MacRae explained that though Maine’s new law prohibiting agricultural use of wastewater sludge is a step in the right direction for public health and environmental quality, as diverting sludge to landfills will help to contain PFAS and limit exposures, there are new problems generated by the practice. For example, it places the financial burden on municipalities, which may be passed on to residents in the form of higher sewage rates or property taxes. Making landfills responsible for wastewater sludge in addition to other materials will also use up their limited space more quickly. Instead, getting to a safe, circular food system should be a critical priority for Maine policymakers in order to limit people’s exposure to PFAS. Haedicke is a member of the Maine chapter of the national Scholars Strategy Network, which brings together scholars across the country to address public challenges and their policy implications.