(Editors Note: this letter has been submitted to The McDuffie Progress and was originally submitted to another newspaper previously. The letter references a “recent article by Jill Nolin.” That article, entitled “Rural Georgians hold their nose as sludge is dumped nearby,” was published by the Georgia Recorder on Oct. 21, 2019. Pagan’s music video can be found on Youtube by searching "Devil" by Erick Pagan and more information can be found at ErickPagan.com)
I found it quite interesting to read your recent article by Jill Nolin on the sludge issue that is currently plaguing Oglethorpe County. The problems and legalities surrounding the dumping of bio-sludge in rural Georgia counties is becoming a hot-button issue for Wilkes County as well.
Several months ago, Dr Erick Pagan, Washington dentist and a Rayle resident, became painfully aware of the consequences of toxic waste dumping. He noticed a putrid smell during his morning runs that persisted for weeks and made his breathing labored. As he spoke with neighbors and investigated the problem, he found that George Stone, a local farmer, had made a YouTube video highlighting his concerns.
Stone told him that bio-sludge was coming into the county by the tanker truckload and being promoted as "fertilizer" even through in many cases, it consisted of raw sewage and animal waste products. Not only had it been sprayed or piped into the ground, it had leeched into ponds and local streams.
Pagan, an accomplished song-writer and vocal artist, was inspired to write a protest ballad to publicize his crusade. The song features the saga of Stone's investigation and chronicles the "Devil coming down Centerville Road", the site of Pagan's home. As he performed the song and helped highlight the problem, Dr Pagan realized that more people needed to be made aware of the stench invasion. At his own expense, he commissioned a film maker in California to document the issue, hired a production crew, and flew them out to W-W to film over the Labor Day weekend.
Thanks Dr Pagan, for awaking me and your fellow citizens to this dangerous practice. The resulting music video is an excellent treatment of this serious cause and soon will be available to download on iTunes.
DAV PR Liaison