ECUA: Test Showing Salmonella In Compost Was Incorrect

April 12, 2018

Days after compost from the Emerald Coast Utilities Authority tested positive for Salmonella, follow up testing indicated the positive test result was incorrect.

On Friday, ECUA notified the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) that a monthly test on the compost had tested positive for Salmonella in excess of the allowable limits.

“Upon notification, the department advised ECUA to immediately contact customers who received the material to inform them of potential exposure, to resample the material to confirm the results, and to retrieve delivered compost where feasible,” Brandy Smith, a spokesperson for FDEP, said.

Nathalie Bowers, ECUA public information officer, said Wednesday that a retest did not show any indication of Salmonella.

“This would indicate that the sample result received last Thursday, which caused concern and only affected customers who had received compost on or after March 20, was a false positive or possibly a lab error,” she said.

Bowers said she expected ECUA to resume normal compost operations on Thursday.

“A review of ECUA’s compliance history since 2016 revealed that ECUA has been in compliance with sampling requirements for the biosolids compost and results for all required parameters have been within regulatory limits,” Smith said.

ECUA’s Emerald Coast Bloom compost is created using a combination of yard waste — such as leaves, grass and pine straw — and biosolids –treated sewage sludge that meets high standards.

File photos for, click to enlarge.


One Response to “ECUA: Test Showing Salmonella In Compost Was Incorrect”

  1. The Brown Water Magician on April 13th, 2018 1:12 pm

    Hey, false positives can and do happen. However, I would prefer to see ECUA increase their compost testing for the forseeable future, if only to build more confidence in their own program.

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