Citizens are concerned over unknown toxic elements
that may contaminate tons of dumped sludge in Newberry.
More community turmoil and discourse was witnessed at the March 2013
Newberry CSD meeting when Brandan B. Archibek presented a three minute rant against the community's
concerns over his father's importation of sludge products from Nursery Product's notorious Hinkley
The processed sludge was first discovered by the Newberry Springs
Community Alliance in March being imported into Newberry Springs. The Community Alliance
also discovered the source being the renegade Nursery Products that reportedly commenced its
operation in Hinkley without all the necessary permits.
Nursery Products was having its Hinkley facility's opening
delayed by costly time consuming regulatory permits and was reportedly near bankruptcy
until, in order to remain solvent, the developer commenced operation early in order to
acquire revenue. The 100-plus stacked piles of processed sludge that has been recently
imported and dumped in Newberry Springs by Eric Duane Archibek, Brandan Archibek's father,
is believed to be part of the original sludge accepted and presumably processed by Nursery
Products at its new Hinkley facility.
At a March 9, 2013 public meeting, Eric Archibek stated that the
processed sludge was safe; however, he lacked any documentation of such.
Some piles of processed Nursery Products "compost" that Eric
Archibek has imported into Newberry Springs years ago still remain. On January 23, 2007,
county inspectors visited some of the existing sites and drove a long temperature probe into the
"compost." High temperature readings indicated that the sludge was not properly processed
and was still highly bacterially active. Some of this sludge is reported to have been
illegally spread at some Newberry pistachio farms.
An independent lab analysis on the recent sludge dumpings in Newberry
Springs has not been done; but a claimed analysis from Nursery Products, apparently taken
at its facility, is said to give the compost a safe rating. Unfortunately, there is no
way for local citizens to know the actual source of the material said to have been tested.
With sludge, safe samples can be taken only a few feet from highly toxic and deadly contaminants.
← Brandan Archibek speaks at the podium before the
Newberry CSD board.
When sewage waste is processed according to the law, spreading of the
resulting compost is claimed by proponents to be safe and not pose a public health risk.
Nursery Products, however, has been known to not always operate within the law.
Newberry citizens' concern over the safety of their water supply
and safe breathable air are apparently considered by Brandan Archibek as hostile and
harrassment against his family's right to import the Hinkley sludge into
Newberry Springs and to spread it above the community's aquifer.
According to the Desert Dispatch, Eric Archibek has stated that farmers
use the sludge product because it is cheap and effective. "It's a good source of fertilizer,"
he said. "I don't think it smells any worse than other fertilizers such as chicken or
cow manure. It's legal."
Whether it is legal is questionable without an independent analysis of
each truckload. Test results can fluxuate dramatically depending upon the source of the
sludge and whatever the sludge consists of. The only guarantee with sludge is an
inconsistency of its contents. It can contain whatever pharmaceuticals, toxics, or other
hazardous materials that urbanites need to quickly, cheaply, and anonymously dispose of.
The majority of farmers in Newberry Springs and Daggett don't want it upon their fields.
As one farmer stated to the Community Alliance, "The contents of sludge
waste is like a landfill. It contains everything imaginable and unimaginable."
"And I am pursuing!"
Brandan Archibek's discourse was commendable in attempting to defend his
father; and it contained some subtle humor. In speaking before the CSD board he made reference
in speaking before the "bench;" apparently in confusion that he was before another judicial court.
He also repeatedly threatened to take the "harrassment and slandering" to the Sheriff's department;
apparently not understanding that his only redress would be a civil action having nothing
to do with the Sheriff's department.
Brandan Archibek says,
"I'm not gonna go try to beat people up."
Litigation would be interesting as it could open-up and force legal
discovery and sworn depositions of Eric Archibek over his past financial history and possible
collusion of importing Nursery Products' waste into Newberry Springs. Nursery Products
cannot take-in new sludge without moving out its processed stock. Litigation could reveal
the deal that Nursery Products has given the Archibeks to dispose the sludge waste.
Eric Archibek has been a long time leading advocate over the
controversial importation of processed sludge waste into Newberry Springs in opposition to
the community's safety concerns. As such, he has made himself a 'public figure' on the
issue and has voluntarily waived his privacy rights to be free from public criticism.
Therefore, Brandan Archibek's complaint over harassing comments appear to hold no legal merit.
Brandan's father, Eric Archibek, reportedly accosted and allegedly
manhandled a CSD director last month outside of the Newberry Springs Post Office after the
importation of new sludge waste became known to the community. Eric Archibek was apparently
upset over the sludge issue becoming dominent again. Reports on the incident
were made to the Sheriff's department but no charges have been pressed.
Brandan Archibek's 3-minute talk before the CSD board.