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This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 34 No. 1, p. 80-90
    Received: Feb 19, 2004

    * Corresponding author(s): Greg.Kester@dnr.state.wi.us


Risk Characterization, Assessment, and Management of Organic Pollutants in Beneficially Used Residual Products

  1. Gregory B. Kester *a,
  2. Robert B. Brobstb,
  3. Andrew Carpenterc,
  4. Rufus L. Chaneyd,
  5. Alan B. Rubine,
  6. Rosalind A. Schooff and
  7. David S. Taylorg
  1. a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, State Residuals Coordinator, 101 South Webster Street, WT/2, Madison, WI 53703
    b USEPA Region 8, 999 18th Street, Suite 300, Denver, CO 80202
    c Northern Tilth, P.O. Box 361, Belfast, ME 04915
    d USDA-ARS, Building 007 BARC-West, Beltsville, MD 20705
    e USEPA Office of Science and Technology, USEPA Connecting Wing (4304T), 1201 Constitution Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20460
    f Integral Consulting Inc., 7900 SE 28th Street, Suite 300, Mercer Island, WA 98040
    g Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District, 1601 Moorland Road, Madison, WI 53713


A wide array of organic chemicals occur in biosolids and other residuals recycled to land. The extent of our knowledge about the chemicals and the impact on recycling programs varies from high to very low. Two significant challenges in regulating these materials are to accurately determine the concentrations of the organic compounds in residuals and to appropriately estimate the risk that the chemicals present from land application or public distribution. This paper examines both challenges and offers strategies for assessing the risks related to the occurrence of organic compounds in residuals used as soil amendments. Important attributes that must be understood to appropriately characterize and manage the potential risks for organic chemicals in biosolids include toxicity and dose response, transport potential, chemical structure and environmental stability, analytical capability in the matrix of interest, concentrations and persistence in waste streams, plant uptake, availability from surface application versus incorporation, solubility factors, and environmental fate. This information is complete for only a few chemicals. Questions persist about the far greater number of chemicals for which toxicity and environmental behavior are less well understood. This paper provides a synopsis of analytical issues, risk assessment methodologies, and risk management screening alternatives for organic constituents in biosolids. Examples from experience in Wisconsin are emphasized but can be extrapolated for broader application.

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Copyright © 2005. American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Soil Science SocietyASA, CSSA, SSSA