‘I’ve never smelled anything like it in my life’ – farms fertilised with contaminated sewage

Penny Napierski decided to take action when she discovered sewage sludge – which is mostly human faeces – was being spread on the field near her home

When Penny Napierski smelled the sewage that was being spread on the field near her home, she became concerned for her and her husband’s health.

So last year she decided to take a sample from the pile of black sludge and send it to a lab for analysis. The results that came back were “frightening”, so Penny shared them with the Environment Agency. Though the EA couldn’t comment on a test they hadn’t carried out, they had in fact commissioned their own tests two years earlier.

The resulting report – which was never published – reveals sludge samples destined for farms across England contained salmonella, toxic chemicals and microplastics, among other contaminants. Experts fear the chemical cocktail detailed in the report could pose a threat to human health and the environment.

Read the full investigation here.