Scientific Studies of Sewage Sludge
Scientific studies of sewage sludge confirm its hazards. A list of just some of the hazardous chemicals and pathogens found in sludge can be found in the article Sludge contaminants. Sludge contaminants include Dioxins and Furans, Flame Retardants, Metals, Organochlorine Pesticides, 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (DBCP), Naphthalene, Triclosan, Nonylphenols, Phthalates, Nanosilver, and thousands more substances.
Some select studies and technical papers are below. NOTE: A PDF version of each study is attached wherever possible.
- Amy Lowman, Mary Anne McDonald, Steve Wing, and Naeema Muhammad, "Land Application of Treated Sewage Sludge: Community Health and Environmental Justice," Environmental Health Perspectives, March 11, 2013 (online). The results of this study are discussed in detail in the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences' Environmental Factor in May 2013 here (NIEHS Partnerships for Environmental Public Health funded the study).
- Torleif Bramryd, "Long-term effects of sewage sludge application on the heavy metal concentrations in acid pine (Pinus sylvestris L.) forests in a climatic gradient in Sweden," Forest Ecology and Management (Volume 289), February 1 , 2013, pp. 434–444.
- After sewage sludge fertilization of "acid pine forests (Pinus sylvestris L.) on sandy soils in a south to north temperature gradient in Sweden," some research areas saw "a limited increase of Cr, Cu, Ni, Zn both in the humus and in the upper mineral layers."
- John H. Priester, Yuan Ge, Randall E. Mielke, Allison M. Horst, Shelly Cole Moritz, Katherine Espinosa, Jeff Gelb, Sharon L. Walker, Roger M. Nisbet, Youn-Joo An, Joshua P. Schimel, Reid G. Palmer, Jose A. Hernandez-Viezcas, Lijuan Zhao, Jorge L. Gardea-Torresdey, and Patricia A. Holden, "Soybean susceptibility to manufactured nanomaterials with evidence for food quality and soil fertility interruption, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (Volume 109, No. 34), August 20, 2012.
- "Based on previously published hydroponic plant, planktonic bacterial, and soil microbial community research, manufactured nanomaterial (MNM) environmental buildup could profoundly alter soil-based food crop quality and yield. However, thus far, no single study has at once examined the full implications, as no studies have involved growing plants to full maturity in MNM-contaminated ﬁeld soil. We have done so for soybean, a major global commodity crop, using farm soil amended with two high-production metal oxide MNMs (nano-CeO2 and -ZnO). The results provide a clear, but unfortunate, view of what could arise over the long term: (i) for nano-ZnO, component metal was taken up and distributed throughout edible plant tissues; (ii) for nano-CeO2, plant growth and yield diminished, but also (iii) nitrogen ﬁxation—a major ecosystem service of leguminous crops—was shut down at high nano-CeO2 concentration. Juxtaposed against widespread land application of wastewater treatment biosolids to food crops, these ﬁndings forewarn of agriculturally associated human and environmental risks from the accelerating use of MNMs." (Emphasis added.)
- E. Butler, M.J. Whelan, R. Sakrabani, and R. van Egmond, "Fate of triclosan in field soils receiving sewage sludge," Environmental Pollution (Volume 167, August 2012), pp. 101–109.
- "The anti-microbial substance triclosan can partition to sewage sludge during wastewater treatment and subsequently transfer to soil when applied to land. . . . Triclosan and methyl-triclosan concentrations were measured in soil samples collected monthly from three depths. A large fraction of triclosan loss appeared to be explained by transformation to methyl-triclosan. After 12 months less than 20% of the initial triclosan was recovered from each soil. However, the majority was recovered as methyl-triclosan. Most of the chemical recovered at the end of the experiment (both triclosan and methyl-triclosan) was still in the top 10 cm layer, although there was translocation to lower soil horizons in all three soils."
- M.M. González, J. Martín, D. Camacho-Muñoz, J.L. Santos, I. Aparicio, and E. Alonso, Degradation and environmental risk of surfactants after the application of compost sludge to the soil," Waste Management (Volume 32, Issue 7, July 2012), pp. 1324-1331.
- "In this work, the degradation of anionic and non-ionic surfactants in agricultural soil amended with sewage sludge is reported. The compounds analysed were: linear alkylbenzene sulphonates (LAS) with a 10–13 car- bon alkylic chain, and nonylphenolic compounds (NPE), including nonylphenol (NP) and nonylphenol eth- oxylates with one and two ethoxy groups (NP1EO and NP2EO). . . . Environmental risk assessment revealed that for LAS homologues no environment risk could be expected after 7 and 8 days of sludge application to the soil for 22.4 and 12.7 °C, respectively; however, potential toxic effects could be observed for the nonylphenolic compounds during the first 56 days after sludge application to the soil" (emphasis added).
- Nik M. Majid, M.M. Islam, and Lydia Mathew, "Heavy metal uptake and translocation by mangium (Acacia mangium) from sewage sludge contaminated soil," Australian Journal of Crop Science (Volume 6, Issue 8, June 2012), pp. 1228-1235.
- "There are so many potentially harmful substances found in sludge particularly heavy metals (cadmium, chromium, lead, nickel, copper, mercury, zinc, iron and aluminum) . Many are known to cause cancer and other diseases. Certain compounds found in sludge have been identified to harm the reproductive systems of fish and other aquatic life. These contaminants need to be cleaned up for a safe environment. An experiment was conducted to evaluate the potential of Acacia mangium as a phytoremediator to absorb heavy metals from sewage sludge contaminated soils. Acacia mangium seedlings were planted on six different growth media (soil + sludge) were: T0 (100% soil, control), T1 (80% soil+20% sludge), T2(60% soil+40% sludge), T3(40% soil+60% sludge), T4(20% soil+80% sludge) and T5(100% sludge). The highest growth performance such as height, basal diameter and number of leaves was found in 40% soil+60% sludge. Cadmium (Cd) and lead (Pb) were highly concentrated in the stems, chromium (Cr) and copper (Cu) in the roots, while zinc (Zn) was concentrated in both leaves and stems. A. mangium seems to have a high potential to absorb high amounts of Zn, Cd, Pb, Cr and Cu in the leaves, stems and roots. A. mangium showed high translocation factor and low bioconcentration factor values in the sludge contaminated soil as well as it was able to tolerate and accumulate high concentrations of heavy metals. The roots of A. mangium were found to be suitable for the absorption of heavy metals in contaminated soils. Therefore, this species can be a good phtyoremediator for sewage sludge contaminated soil and to mitigate soil pollution." The study does not address how to dispose of the contaminated Acacia plants after the phytoremediation of the bioaccumulated heavy metals.
- Yun-Ya Yang, James L. Gray, Edward T. Furlong, Jessica G. Davis, Rhiannon C. ReVello, and Thomas Borch, Steroid Hormone Runoff from Agricultural Test Plots Applied with Municipal Biosolids, Environmental Science & Technology (Volume 46, no. 5, January 30, 2012), Pages 2746–2754. (Abstract Only without subscription.)
- "The potential presence of steroid hormones in runoff from sites where biosolids have been used as agricultural fertilizers is an environmental concern. A study was conducted to assess the potential for runoff of seventeen different hormones and two sterols, including androgens, estrogens, and progestogens from agricultural test plots. The field containing the test plots had been applied with biosolids for the first time immediately prior to this study. . . . Overall, these results indicate that rainfall can mobilize hormones from biosolids-amended agricultural fields, directly to surface waters or redistributed to terrestrial sites away from the point of application via runoff. Although concentrations decrease over time, 35 days is insufficient for complete degradation of hormones in soil at this site" (emphasis added).
- Ashley Hinther, Caleb M. Bromba, Jeremy E. Wulff, and Caren C. Helbing, "Effects of Triclocarban, Triclosan, and Methyl Triclosan on Thyroid Hormone Action and Stress in Frog and Mammalian Culture Systems," Environmental Science Technology (Volume 45, No. 12, May 16, 2011), pp. 5395-5402.
- "Triclosan (TCS) and triclocarban (TCC) are widely used broad spectrum bactericides that are common pollutants of waterways and soils. Methyl triclosan (mTCS) is the predominant bacterial TCS metabolite. Previous studies have shown that TCS disrupts thyroid hormone (TH) action; however, the effects of mTCS or TCC are not known. . . . mTCS and TCC affected TH-responsive gene transcripts at the highest concentration in mammalian cells, whereas a modest effect included lower concentrations in the C-fin assay. In contrast, TCS did not affect TH-responsive transcripts. These results identify nontarget biological effects of these bacteriocides on amphibian and mammalian cells and suggest the TH-disrupting effects observed for TCS could be mediated through its metabolite. . . . Given the observed effects in cell and organ culture, examination of the effects of TCC on postembryonic development of frog tadpoles and on intact mammals is warranted."
- Elizabeth F. Davis, Susan L. Klosterhaus and Heather M. Stapleton, Measurement of flame retardants and triclosan in municipal sewage sludge and biosolids, Original Research Article, Environment International (Volume 40, April 2012 - Available online December 27, 2011), Pages 1–7.
- "As polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) face increasing restrictions worldwide, several alternate ﬂame retardants are expected to see increased use as replacement compounds in consumer products. Chemical analysis of biosolids collected from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) can help determine whether these ﬂame retardants are migrating from the indoor environment to the outdoor environment, where little is known about their ultimate fate and effects. The objective of this study was to measure concentrations of a suite of ﬂame retardants, and the antimicrobial compound triclosan, in opportunistic samples of municipal biosolids and the domestic sludge Standard Reference Material (SRM) 2781. . . . The biosolids and SRM 2781 were analyzed for PBDEs, hexabromobenzene (HBB), 1,2-bis(2,4,6-tribromophenoxy)ethane (BTBPE), 2-ethylhexyl 2,3,4,5-tetrabromobenzoate (TBB), di(2-ethylhexyl)-2,3,4,5-tetrabromophthalate (TBPH), the chlorinated ﬂame retardant Dechlorane Plus (synand anti-isomers), and the antimicrobial agent 5-chloro-2-(2,4-dichlorophenoxy)phenol (triclosan). PBDEs were detected in every sample analyzed, and ΣPBDE concentrations ranged from 1750 to 6358 ng/g dry weight. Additionally, the PBDE replacement chemicals TBB and TBPH were detected at concentrations ranging from 120 to 3749 ng/g dry weight and from 206 to 1631 ng/g dry weight, respectively. Triclosan concentrations ranged from 490 to 13,866 ng/g dry weight. The detection of these contaminants of emerging concern in biosolids suggests that these chemicals have the potential to migrate out of consumer products and enter the outdoor environment."
- See also: Bobby Bascomb, "Living on Earth Now: Fire Retardants in Food, Public Radio International Living on Earth Now (PRI's environmental news magazine), June 8, 2012.
- Erica T. Cline , Quyen T.N. Nguyen, Lucy Rollins and James E. Gawel. "Metal stress and decreased tree growth in response to biosolids application in greenhouse seedlings and in situ Douglas-fir stands" (full PDF available for purchase). Environmental Pollution (Volume 160, January 2012), Pages 139-144.
- Biosolids amendment increases soil metals over 25 years later.
- Douglas-fir growth benefits fail to materialize from biosolids amendments.
- Phytochelatins are elevated in foliage of trees and roots of greenhouse seedlings after new biosolids are added to soil.
- Biosolids connected to metal stress in Douglas-fir.
- Randhir P. Deo and Rolf U. Halden*. In silico screening for unmonitored, potentially problematic high production volume (HPV) chemicals prone to sequestration in biosolids. Journal of Environmental Monitoring
"Thousands of high production volume (HPV) chemicals are used in the US at rates exceeding 450 000 kg (1 million pounds) per year, yet little is known about their fates during wastewater treatment and upon release into the environment."
- Wu C, Spongberg AL, Witter JD, Fang M, Czajkowski KP.. Uptake of pharmaceutical and personal care products by soybean plants from soils applied with biosolids and irrigated with contaminated water.. Environ. Sci. Technology.
"Any pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs) are commonly found in biosolids and effluents from wastewater treatment plants. Land application of these biosolids and the reclamation of treated wastewater can transfer those PPCPs into the terrestrial and aquatic environments, giving rise to potential accumulation in plants."
- BOJEONG KIM, CHEE-SUNG PARK, MITSUHIRO MURAYAMA AND MICHAEL F. HOCHELLA. Discovery and Characterization of Silver Sulfide Nanoparticles in Final Sewage Sludge Products. Environ. Sci. Technology.
"Nanosized silver sulfide (R-Ag2S) particles were identified in the final stage sewage sludge materials of a full-scale municipal wastewater treatment plant using analytical high-resolution transmission electron microscopy. The Ag2S nanocrystals are in the size range of 5-20 nm with ellipsoidal shape, and they form very small, loosely packed aggregates. This study suggests that in a reduced, S-rich environment, such as the sedimentation processes during wastewater treatment, nanosized silver sulfides are being formed. This field-scale study provides for the first time nanoparticle-level information of the Ag2S present in sewage sludge products, and further suggests the role of wastewater treatment processes on transformation of Ag nanoparticles and ionic Ag potentially released from them."
- Mark J. La Guardia, Robert C. Hale, Ellen Harvey, and Da Chen. Flame-Retardants and Other Organohalogens Detected in Sewage Sludge by Electron Capture Negative Ion Mass Spectrometry. Environ. Sci. Technology, May 20, 2010. DOI: 10.1021/es9039264
Sewage sludge tests revealed 49 organohalogens present, by using methods of gas chromatography with electron capture negative ionization mass spectrometry; 23 of those were identified as flame-retardants: "Evaluations of the risks associated with biosolids land-application...for future environmental fate".
- Jeffrey M. Buth, Peter O. Steen, Charles Sueper, Dylan Blumentritt, Peter J. Vikesland, William A. Arnold, and Kristopher McNeill. Dioxin Photoproducts of Triclosan and Its Chlorinated Derivatives in Sediment Cores. Environ. Sci. Technology, May 17, 2010. DOI: 10.1021/es1001105
Two sediment cores from a wastewater-impacted depositional zone of the Mississippi River were analyzed. 2,8-DCDD and three other dioxin congeners triclosan-derived dioxins present. The total dioxin pool "increased to as high as 31% by mass in recent years, indicating that their contribution to total dioxin toxicity may need consideration".
- Lokesh Padhye, Pei Wang, Tanju Karanfil, and Ching-Hua Huang. Unexpected Role of Activated Carbon in Promoting Transformation of Secondary Amines to N-Nitrosamines. Environ. Sci. Technology. May 6, 2010, 44 (11), pp 4161–4168 DOI: 10.1021/es903916t
This study shows that AC materials can catalyze transformation of secondary amines to yield trace levels of of N-nitrosamines under ambient aerobic conditions. These results show that "selecting ACs and reaction conditions are important to minimize analytical errors and undesirable formation associated with nitrosamines in water samples".
- Leena Sahlström, Verena Rehbinder, Ann Albihn, Anna Aspan, and Björn Bengtsson . Vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) in Swedish sewage sludge. Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica, 2009, 51:24
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the occurrence of vancomycin resistant enterococci (VRE) in treated sewage sludge. This study "demonstrated widespread occurrence of VRE in sewage sludge in the studied WWTP". This indicates a “risk of antimicrobial resistance being spread to new farms and to the society via the environment if the sewage sludge is used on arable land”.
- Amelie Kierkegard et. al.. A Mass Balance of Tri-Hexabrominated Diphenyl Ethers in Lactating Cows. Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 43, No. 7, 2009
The main purpose of this study was to investigate the polybrominated diphenylethers (BDEs) transfer from feed to cows’ milk. The fate of tri- to hexaBDEs in lactating cows exposed to a naturally contaminated diet was studied by analyzing feed, feces, and milk samples from a mass balance study. The behavior of the tri- to hexaBDEs was "consistent with that observed for other classes of halogenated aromatic contaminants such as PCBs and PCDD/Fs".
Many of the 145 chemicals tested for were current nationwide. Biosolids from all of the 74 large treatment plants surveyed had same 27 metals, but only zinc, molybdenum, and nickel surpassed standards for application to fields. Almost all of the 11 flame retardants on the list were there in every sample.
- EPA. Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Report. Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey, EPA-822-R-08-014, 7 (January 2009)
The results of this survey indicate that "27 metals were found in virtually every biosolids sample". Four of six semivolatile organics and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons were found in at least 72 samples. "All off the flame retardants except one [(BDE-138)] were essentially found in every sample; [BDE-138] was found in 54 out of 84 samples".
- Rebecca Renner. EPA finds record PFOS, PFOA levels in Alabama grazing fields. Environmental Science & Technology. DOI: 10.1021/es803520c
This study focuses on the investigation of agricultural soil near Decatur, Alabama., Scientists with the EPA, USDA, and FDA are investigating if perfluorinated chemicals have entered the human food chain and contaminated meat. They suspect that "PFOA and PFOS, treated municipal sewage sludge, or biosolids, were applied to some 5000 acres of agricultural land".
- Bradley Clarke et al. Polybrominated diphenyl ethers and polybrominated biphenyls in Australian Sewage Sludge. Chemosphere.2008.06.034
Scientific literature of polybrominated diphenyl ethers(PBDEs) and polybrominated biphenyls(PBBs) in sewage sludge and a survey of these compounds in sewage sludge from 16 Australian wastewater treatment plants. This study presents "need for a risk assessment of PBDEs in sewage sludge used for land application".
- V.N. Kouloumbosa, A. Schaffer, P.F.-X. Corvini. Impact of sewage sludge conditioning and dewatering on the fate of nonylphenol in sludge-amended soils. Water Research, Vol. 4 2 ( 2 0 0 8 ), pp. 3 9 4 1 – 3 9 5 1
Study looks at the "fate of 14C-labelled p353-nonylphenol (NP) in soils amended with differently treated sludges originating from the same precursor". Nonylphenol was degraded much faster in soils modified with liquid sludge, while a major portion of it was intact and extractable by organic solvents when sludge had been centrifuged prior to soil amendment.
- Wu Chenxi, Alison L. Spongberg, Jason D. Witter. Determination of the persistence of pharmaceuticals in biosolids using liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry. Chemosphere, 2008, 06.026
In this study, the presence of seven pharmaceuticals and one antibacterial was evaluated using ultrasonic extraction and liquid-chromatography tandem mass spectrometry (LC–MS/MS). During the experiment…elimination was found for tetracycline, doxycycline, clindamycin, erythromycin, and clarithromycin.
- Limbach et al. Removal of Oxide Nanoparticles in a Model Wastewater Treatment Plant: Influence of Agglomeration and Surfactants on Clearing Efficiency. Environmental Science & Technology, 2008; 0 (0): 0 DOI: 10.1021/es800091f
Survey looks at the use of a model wastewater treatment plant for removal of oxide nanoparticles. “Investigation on the agglomeration of oxide nanoparticles in wastewater streams revealed a high stabilization of the particles against clearance (adsorption on the bacteria from the sludge)”.
- Science Daily summary of Limbach paper. Nanoparticles In Sewage Could Escape Into Bodies Of Water. Science Daily, July 28, 2008
Nanoparticles should bound in the sludge and not represent a setback in the aqueous effluent. However, new study on the ceramic model material cerium dioxide found that a major “amount was able to leave an experimental sewage works and therefore could possibly enter bodies of water”.
- Editorial. Stuck in the mud. Nature, p 258.
This study indicates that “The Environmental Protection Agency must gather data on the toxicity of spreading sewage sludge”. Results show that “The Environmental Protection Agency must gather data on the toxicity of spreading sewage sludge”.
- Jeff Tollefson. Raking through sludge exposes stink: Environmental Protection Agency scientists accused of fabricating data about health effects of fertilizer. Nature, p 262.
Study about a Farmer Andy McElmurray who “won his court case against the US Department of Agriculture over land poisoned by sludge fertilizer."
- Hinckley et al. Persistence of Pathogenic Prion Protein during Simulated Wastewater Treatment Processes. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2008, 42, 5254–5259
Report on the results of experiments examining the partitioning and persistence of PrPtse during simulated wastewater treatment processes including activated and mesophilic anaerobic sludge digestion.
- Alison L. Spongberg and Jason D. Witter. Pharmaceutical compounds in the wastewater process stream in Northwest Ohio. Science of the Total Environment, 3 9 7 ( 2 0 0 8 ) 1 4 8 – 1 5 7
The purpose of this study was to test the presence and fate of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products (PPCP's) in the environment from three wastewater treatment facilities in Northwest Ohio, USA. The greatest number of toxic compounds "were found in the influent from the largest and most industrial wastewater treatment facility".
- Ethel Eljarrat, Göran Marsh, Ana Labandeira, Damià Barceló. Effect of sewage sludges contaminated with polybrominated diphenylethers on agricultural soils. Chemosphere, Volume 71, Issue 6, April 2008, Pages 1079-1086
- Kinney et al. Bioaccumulation of Pharmaceuticals and Other Anthropogenic Waste Indicators in Earthworms from Agricultural Soil Amended With Biosolid or Swine Manure. Vol. 42, No. 6, 2008, Environmental Science & Technology
Earthworms and soil samples were collected from three Midwest agricultural fields in order to analyze them for the presence of 77 anthropogenic waste indicators from land-applied biosolids and livestock manure.
- Athanasios S. Stasinakis, Georgia Gatidou, Daniel Mamais, Nikolaos S. Thomaidis, Themistokles D. Lekka. Occurrence and fate of endocrine disrupters in Greek sewage treatment plants. Water Research, Vol. 42 ( 2008 ) pp. 1796 – 1804
The occurrence of five endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) was tested in the treated wastewater and sewage sludge of eight sewage treatment plants (STPs) in Greece. The analytes were extracted by solid-phase extraction or sonication.
- Sadik Khuder et al.. Health Survey of Residents Living Near Farm Fields Permitted to Receive Biosolids. Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health, Vol. 62, No. 1, 2007
This study analyzed the health status of residents living in Wood County, OH, near farm fields that were allowed to use biosolids. “Results revealed that some reported health-related symptoms were statistically significantly elevated among the exposed residents”.
- S. Barnabe´, I. Beauchesne, D.G. Cooper, J.A. Nicell . Plasticizers and their degradation products in the process streams of a large urban physicochemical sewage treatment plant. Water Research, Vol. 42 ( 2008) pp. 153 – 162
The plasticizers bis (2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (BEHP), bis (2-ethylhexyl) terephthalate (BEHTP) and bis (2-ethylhexyl) adipate (BEHA) were found in major quantities “in the influents, process streams, treated effluent and solid residues of a large physicochemical treatment plant in Montreal, Canada”. Results obtained indicate that “the treatment plant does not effectively remove plasticizers from the influent and represents a significant source of these compounds and their degradation products in the environment”.
- Mark J. La Guardia, Robert Hale, and Ellen Harvey. Evidence of Debromination of Decabromodiphenyl Ether (BDE-209) in Biota from a Wastewater Receiving Stream. Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 41, No. 19, 2007
- Tania Paez-Rubio et al. Emission Rates and Characterization of Aerosols Produced During the Spreading of Dewatered Class B Biosolids. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2007, 41, 3537-3544
This study analyzes “aerosol emission rates produced during the spreading of dewatered class B biosolids onto agricultural land”.
- Kinney et al. Survey of Organic Wastewater Contaminants in Biosolids Destined for Land Application. Environmental Science & Technology, Vol. 40, No. 23, 2006, pp 7207-7215.
”In this study, the presence, composition, and concentrations of organic wastewater contaminants (OWCs) were determined in solid materials produced during wastewater treatment”. Results indicate the need to better analyze the composition of OWCs in biosolids.
- Ellen Z. Harrison et al. . Organic Chemicals in Sewage Sludges. Science of The Total Environment • Volume 367, Issues 2-3, 31 August 2006, Pages 481-497
This study examines the peer reviewed literature and official governmental reports for the presence of organic chemicals in the sludge as there are no requirement to test sewage sludges for the presence of organic chemicals in the U.S.
“About 76 percent of a commonly used antimicrobial agent exits sewage-treatment plants as a component of the sludge that's often used as a farm fertilizer”, according to the study used to track the chemical through a plant. These results raise a question to the ultimate fate of the antimicrobial in the environment
- Heidler et al. Partitioning, Persistence, and Accumulation in Digested Sludge of the Topical Antiseptic Triclocarban during Wastewater Treatment. Environ. Sci. Technol. 2006, 40, 3634-3639.
Study results indicate that “approximately three-quarters of the mass of TCC disposed of by consumers in the sewer shed of the plant is released into the environment by application of municipal sludge (biosolids) on land used in part for agriculture”.
- Jonathan P. Bound and Nikolaos Voulvoulis. Household Disposal of Pharmaceuticals as a Pathway for Aquatic Contamination in the United Kingdom. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 12, Dec., 2005, pp. 1705-1711
This study focuses on the presence of a wide range of pharmaceuticals in fresh and marine waters. “…much of the research in the area currently focuses on the removal of pharmaceuticals during sewage treatment processes…”
- Catriona Paul, Stewart M. Rhind, Carol E. Kyle, Hayley Scott, Chris McKinnell, Richard M. Sharpe. Cellular and Hormonal Disruption of Fetal Testis Development in Sheep Reared on Pasture Treated with Sewage Sludge. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 113, No. 11 (Nov., 2005), pp. 1580-1587; Published by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS)
The purpose of this study was to evaluate if experimental exposure of pregnant sheep to a mixture of environmental chemicals…exerted effects on fetal testis development or function; application of sewage sludge was undertaken so as to maximize exposure of the ewes to its contents”.
- Anneli Marklund, et al. Organophosphorus Flame Retardants and Plasticizers in Swedish Sewage Treatment Plants. Environmental Science & Technology, 2005, 39, 7423 - 7429.
”Possible sources of 12 organophosphorus flame retardants and plasticizers, some of which are reported to be toxic to aquatic organisms, were investigated in samples of influents, effluents, and sludge from 11 Swedish sewage treatment plants”.
- Manfred Clara, Birgit Strenn, Ernis Saracevic, Norbert Kreuzinger. Adsorption of bisphenol-A, 17b-estradiole and 17a-ethinylestradiole to sewage sludge. Chemosphere 56 (2004) 843–851
Adsorption of bisphenol-A, 17b-estradiole and 17a-ethinylestradiole to activate and to inactivated sludge from wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) was investigated, thus allowing to distinguish between pure adsorption and biosorption.
- Mark J. La Guardia, Robert C. Hale, Ellen Harvey, Elizabeth O. Bush,. Organic Contaminants of Emerging Concern in. Journal of Residuals Science & Technology, Vol. 1, No. 2, April 2004
Wastewater treatment releases pollutants present in industrial and residential discharges. “The recycling of sewage sludge (also known as “biosolids”) as a soil amendment presents additional challenges to the wastewater industry, as they must now also assure these complex materials do not adversely effect the environment”.
- M.B. McBride. Toxic metals in sewage sludge-amended soils: has promotion of Advances in Environmental Research, Volume 8, Issue 1, October 2003, Pages 5-19
This review looks at the effects of land application of contaminated waste products. Toxic metals in sewage sludges applied to agricultural land are used to “illustrate that metal behavior in soils and plant uptake is difficult to generalize because it is strongly dependent on the nature of the metal, sludge, soil properties and crop”.
- Jorgen Thorn et al. Measurement Strategies for the Determination of Airborne Bacterial Endotoxin in Sewage Treatment Plants. Ann. Occup. Hyg., Vol. 46, No. 6, pp 549-554, 2002
Purpose of this study was to evaluate different airborne bacterial endotoxin in sewage treatment plants. Results show that “higher values can be recorded during work practises where agitation of wastewater occurs.
- Eva M. Golet, et al. Environmental Exposure Assessment of Fluoroquinolone Antibacterial Agents from Sewage to Soil. Environmental Science & Technology, VOL. 37, NO. 15, 2003
“The behavior of fluoroquinolone antibacterial agents (FQs) during mechanical-biological wastewater treatment was studied by mass flow analysis”. The fate of FQs in agricultural soils after sludge application was also investigated.
- Joel Tickner and Sara Wright. Primary Prevention Of Chemical Contamination. New Solutions, Vol. 12(4) 425-433, 2002
“The current approach to addressing health and ecosystem risks from biosolids, or sludge, requires identification of so-called “safe” or “acceptable” levels of exposure and installation of controls to achieve such levels.” There is a need to “understand and address risks of biosolids contamination, we present a new, preventative paradigm for addressing the hazards of sludge”.
- Christopher T. Nidel. Regulating the Fate of Pharmaceutical Drugs: A New Prescription for the Environment. Food & Drug Law Journal, Vol. 58, 2003, pp. 81-102
This study analyzes the impact of pharmaceuticals drugs on the environment. “There is an increased presence of human and animal drugs, including hormones, antibiotics, and antineoplastic compounds in soil, lakes, rivers, and tap water”.
- Kolpin et al., 2002 D.A. Kolpin, E.T. Furlong, M.T. Meyer, E.M. Thurman, S.D. Zaugg and L.B. Barber et al. Pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants in U.S. streams, 1999–2000: a national reconnaissance. Environ Sci Technol 36 (2002), pp. 1202–1211
Survey on the “occurrence of pharmaceuticals, hormones, and other organic wastewater contaminants (OWCs) in water resources”. Concentrations of 95 OWCs were measured in water samples from a network of 139 streams across 30 states during 1999 and 2000.
- David L. Lewis, David K. Gattie, Marc E. Novak, Susan Sanchez, Charles Pumphrey. Interactions Of Pathogens And Irritant Chemicals In Land-Applied Sewage Sludges (Biosolids). BMC Public Health 2002, 2:11
- Eva M. Golet, Adrian Strehler, Alfredo C. Alder, and Walter Giger. Determination of Fluoroquinolone Antibacterial Agents in Sewage Sludge and Sludge-Treated Soil Using Accelerated Solvent Extraction Followed by Solid-Phase Extraction. Anal. Chem. 2002, 74, 5455-5462
- Ted Schettler. Sewage Sludge - Looking Upstream: The Precautionary Principle. New Solutions, Vol. 12(4) 355-358, 2002
- U.S. Geological Survey. Household Chemicals and Drugs Found in Biosolids from Wastewater Treatment Plants The 25 Chemicals Found in All Nine of the Biosolids Studied What's in Our Wastewaters and Where Does it Go?
“…U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists found that biosolids contain relatively high concentrations (hundreds of milligrams per kilogram) of the active ingredients commonly found in a variety of household products and drugs”.
- Abby Rockefeller. Sewers, Sewage Treatment, Sludge: Damage Without End. New Solutions, Vol. 12(4) 341-346, 2002.
“Spreading sewage sludge on land is but the latest in the compounding of environmental damage from sewerage. This practice must be banned and there must be a federal reorientation of all technology dealing with human excreta and the waste materials from industry and society that now are carried away by sewers”.
- Robert C. Hale and Mark J. LaGuardia. Have Risks Associated with the Presence of Synthetic Organic Contaminants in Land-Applied Sewage Sludges Been Adequately Addressed?. 12 New Solutions: J. Env. & Occupational Health Policy 371, 372 (2002).
- R. Clapp and L. Orlando, eds. The Sludge Report: A special issue of New Solutions: A Journal of Environmental and Occupational Health Policy. Volume 12, Number 4, 2002.
- Ellen Z. Harrison and Summer Rayne Oakes. Investigation Of Alleged Health Incidents Associated With Land Application Of Sewage Sludges. New Solutions, Vol. 12(4) 387-408, 2002
The majority of U.S. sewage sludges are disposed by application to land for use as a soil amendment. “…the potential for off-site movement of chemicals, pathogens, and biological agents suggests that their use should be eliminated”.
- Hale, R.C., M.J. LaGuardia, E.P. Harvey, M.O. Gaylor, T.M. Mainor, and W.H. Duff. Persistent pollutants in land applied sludges. Nature 412:140-141.
“Disposal of sewage sludge by application to agricultural and other land is widely practised and is presumed to be environmentally beneficial, but we have found high concentrations of an environmentally persistent class of organic pollutants, brominated diphenyl ethers (BDEs), in ‘biosolids’ from four different regions of the United States”.
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