Show and smell: TV reporter grabs human poop with bare hands

It's show and smell as KSDK Reporter Elizabeth Matthews picks up sewage sludge with her bare hands on live TV (KSDK)

MASCOUTAH, Ill. (KXAN/KSDK) — A TV reporter grabs human waste with her bare hands live on the air — and even smells it, too.

It happened during KSDK’s story about a farmer using human waste to fertilize corn crops in Illinois.

The raw sewage sludge had reportedly been heated and treated to get rid of the harmful pathogens before hitting the man’s crops to enrich the soil, but KSDK Reporter Elizabeth Matthews says, “The stench is too much for his neighbors to take.”

To see what the big stink was all about, she got up close and personal with the aroma on live TV.

Matthews picks up the poop and describes it as dry, “Looks like potting soil and doesn’t smell very good” — all as she scoops up two big handfuls and takes a big whiff.


For those of us here in Austin cringing at the very thought of this, wait one second. We have some “biosolids” of our own.

You do remember Dillo Dirt, don’t you? Gracing our grasses since 1989, it’s actually “the first program of its kind in the state and one of the oldest in the nation,” per Wikipedia.

“Each year, thousands of tons of biosolids are anaerobically digested and composted with yard trimmings into an EPA-certified soil conditioner called Dillo Dirt,” says the city’s website. “This product is donated to landscape public places and sold to commercial vendors for sale.” provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Users who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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