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Biosolids

Partnering to Ensure Effective Biosolids Management

Through partnerships EPA aims to cooperate with others to advance a mutual interest and understanding of biosolids management. Biosolids management today is faced with challenges that are matched by unprecedented opportunities. A key source of these opportunities is the expanded view of wastewater and solids as renewable resources.

The sustainability of modern domestic wastewater treatment is dependent upon the safety of biosolids reuse or disposal. We support continued research, as well as the proactive development of communications and public outreach, that adds to the understanding of effective practices for biosolids management, strengthens the science on which sound practices are based, and addresses emerging issues as they arise.

Partnerships with regulatory agencies, research universities, municipal agencies, and professional organizations as needed will help expedite the production of the needed tools and achieve faster water quality environmental outcomes that are better quantified.

Below are some of the partner organizations with which EPA works:

Water Sector Partners

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The following trade associations and organizations help conduct informative research or advance environmentally sound biosolids management practices. Many organizations represent water quality professionals around the world and connect water professionals for increased awareness of biosolids issues and encourage water sector innovation.

State and EPA Regional Contacts

State and EPA Regional Biosolids Coordinators are the first point of contact for many biosolids issues. Thus, contact information for State and EPA Regional Biosolids Coordinators are provided for your convenience.

U.S. Government Agencies

Biosolids use or disposal can touch upon many areas and federal jurisdictions. EPA coordinates with other government agencies on issues falling under their jurisdiction, such as agricultural services, food safety, plant health, regulatory programs, the health of our ecosystems and environment, and research and education. EPA's National Agriculture Center is also committed to a strong partnership with other federal agencies and the agriculture community to assist in fulfilling our mission of protecting human health and the environment.

Universities

EPA often looks to the the systematic investigation into and study of biosolids and sources in order to establish facts and reach new conclusions regarding biosolids safety to public health and the environment. Our objective is to bring a broader diversity of relevant and appropriately vetted science to make sure the biosolids standards reflect the latest research.

W3170 Committee

The W-3170 membership offers the advantage of including institutions and entities (universities, USDA-ARS, USEPA, municipal government utilities) from across the entire United States. Such collaboration enables discoveries to account for widespread differences in climate, soils and types and sources of residuals, whose fate, transport, and impact will vary across these factors.

Radioactivity in Sewage Sludge and Ash

The Interagency Steering Committee on Radiation Standards (ISCORS) is comprised of 8 Federal agencies (including EPA), 3 Federal observer agencies, and two state observer agencies who facilitate consensus on acceptable levels of radiation risk to the public and workers and promote consistent risk approaches in setting and implementing standards for protection from ionizing radiation.

The ISCORS library provides links to various ISCORS documents, including the three documents listed below addressing radioactive materials in sewage sludge and ash, as well as health and safety of water treatment workers and the general public:

  • ISCORS, November 2003: ISCORS Assessment of Radioactivity in Sewage Sludge: Radiological Survey Results and Analysis, ISCORS Technical Report 2003-02
  • ISCORS, February 2005: ISCORS Assessment of Radioactivity in Sewage Sludge: Modeling to Assess Radiation Doses, ISCORS Technical Report 2004-03
  • ISCORS, February 2005: ISCORS Assessment of Radioactivity in Sewage Sludge: Recommendations on Management of Radioactive Materials in Sewage Sludge and Ash at Publicly Owned Treatment Works (POTWs), ISCORS Technical Report 2004-04

These and other documents are available on the ISCORS Library website.

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