Congressional hearings will be held in Utah to discuss Amtrak's practice of dumping raw sewage along railroad rights of way, says Rep. Howard Nielson.

Nielson, R-Utah, said Wednesday that a definite timetable has not been set for the hearings, but he has a commitment from Cardiss Collins, Government Activities and Transportation Subcommittee chairman, to hold the hearings this summer.Nielson, the ranking member of the subcommittee, said Amtrak is dumping human waste from trains in every state west of Illinois. He asks other members of Congress to join him in opposing Amtrak's practice.

"Imagine looking forward to taking a leisurely lunch break out in the open air. Noon finally arrives and you and a few of your co-workers casually lay out your food, sit back and begin to relax," he said.

"Then imagine something going by and spraying you, your food and everyone around you with raw human sewage," Nielson added.

Amtrak officials contend they have congressional approval for the practice and that a 1978 study determined the dumping posed no demonstrable health risk.

Earlier this month, Nielson asked Health and Human Services Secretary Otis R. Bowen to conduct a follow-up study on the issue. However, Bowen refused.

"I told them (HHS) I found it hard to believe directly spraying someone with human waste would not affect his health," Nielson said.