Jump to main content or area navigation.

Contact Us

Land Risk Management Research

Land Treatment of Biosolids

Contaminated Soil and Sediments
Contaminated Soil and Sediments
Projects

Land Treatment of Biosolids

Advective Flux Meter for Sediment-Water Interface

Biosolids are the solid residues produced by wastewater and treated to meet federal and state regulations for land application. The United States uses about 60 percent of the biosolids created for agricultural purposes. Under the Clean Water Act, EPA issued governance for land application biosolids in 1993. Since then, wastewater treatment technologies and practices have changed and public concerns about the land application of biosolids have grown. In 2002, the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science issued a report entitled, Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices, NRC, July 2002. The report recommended additional scientific work to reduce uncertainties about the potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to biosolids.

Biosolids application field study in Salisbury, NC
Biosolids application field study in Salisbury, NC

Motivated by this report and other research questions, a collaborative research team under the leadership of the EPA’s Office of Research and Development was assembled. A field-scale land application study was undertaken to evaluate sampling methods and analytical techniques. The major objective of this study was to screen many of the available methods for applicability and included four environmental matrices: air emissions, airborne particles, soil, and biosolids; 35 analyte groups; and, 13 sampling methods. An EPA report on this study is scheduled for release in 2011.

By obtaining data on the release of airborne and soil-bound contaminants during the application of biosolids on land, this research along with the research of others, may lead to the development of protocols that can be used in future studies to protect public health. Data gained from this project constitute a landmark set of simultaneous multimedia information (qualitative and quantitative) associated with the application of biosolids on land and will be used to assist in the development of method protocols for sampling at other land sites where biosolids are applied.

US EPA. (2012). Science in Action: Study Examines the Fate of Multiple Contaminants when Biosolids are Applied to Agricultrual Land (PDF) (2 pp, 225 KB) Publication No. EPA/600/F-12/625

US EPA. (2012). "Multimedia Sampling During The Application Of Biosolids On A Land Test Site." Publication No. EPA/600/R-11/020. | Abstract

Contacts

Carolyn Acheson
513-569-7190
U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory
Land Remediation and Pollution Control Division
26 W. Martin Luther King Dr.
Mail Code: 190
Cincinnati, OH 45268

Richard Brenner
513-569-7657
U.S. EPA National Risk Management Research Laboratory
Land Remediation and Pollution Control Division
26 W. Martin Luther King Dr.
Mail Code: 190
Cincinnati, OH 45268

Risk Mangement Research | Air and Climate Change Research | Water Research | Ecosystems Restoration Research | Land Risk Management Research | Technology: Sustainable Technologies Research, Environmental Technology Verification Program (ETV), and Technology Assessments

Jump to main content.