Is It Legal To Use Human Poop As Fertilizer In Maine?
A few days ago, I was having a conversation with a coworker about how, here in Maine, we may soon be able to use the bodies of our deceased relatives as compost. It got me thinking about an icky incident that happened to me several years ago.
One summer evening, back when I lived in North Conway, New Hampshire, I was having a date night. We were enjoying the patio at a nice restaurant right on "the strip". After a long, hot day, the sun was just starting to go down. A cool breeze was blowing down the length of the valley. On that breeze was an AWFUL smell! At first, we thought it may have been a dumpster. Nope! Our server explained that it was the HUMAN FECES they were using as fertilizer at a nearby farm! Fortunately, the farm only chose to do that once! Yeah, the smell was enough to turn them against the idea.
That memory resurfacing got me thinking, though. Is it legal to use human poo as fertilizer here in Maine?
Could It Happen Here In Maine?
It turns out that you are not allowed to use human waste as fertilizer. But, so far, we are the only state that has banned the use of "human waste sludge" as fertilizer. And, the ban is VERY recent.
According to an article in Waste Today Magazine (yes, it is a real thing), Governor Janet Mills signed LD 1911 into law on April 20th of 2022. Until that point, farmers had been allowed to use human waste as fertilizer.
What Was The Reason For The Change?
Was it because people finally realized that the idea of using human poo as fertilizer was just downright nasty?
Nope! But, it was for a good reason.
According to the article, the new ban was put in place over concerns about PFAS / forever chemicals.
Once they are in the food cycle, they continue to be a part of the food cycle for... well... forever. A cow comes into contact with the chemical, you eat a steak from the cow, you do your business in the bathroom, that poo gets used as fertilizer, it contaminates the peas it is used on, someone eats the peas, and... Well, you get the idea.
According to a 2023 article on the WBUR website, some states do have restrictions on the use of human waste as fertilizer. Maine, however, remains that only state that has completely banned its use.
What are your thoughts on this?