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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Bacterial and Viral Pathogens Associated with Land Application of Organic Wastes1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 6 No. 3, p. 245-251
    Received: Aug 5, 1976

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  1. L. F. Elliott and
  2. J. R. Ellis2



Bacterial and viral pathogens may be present in animal, and especially municipal, wastes. This requires that caution be exercised when using these materials for crop production. These wastes should not be applied to root crops during the current growing season, or to above-ground crops 1 month before harvest. Animals should not be allowed to graze areas for 2 to 3 weeks after waste application. Waste should be applied on the basis of crop fertility requirements based on optimum nutrient utilization, thereby minimizing pathogen-loading rates. Disease outbreaks have occurred when crops grown on soils receiving raw sewage were eaten raw, or when an area was grazed shortly after waste application. No incidence of disease has been reported from land application of treated wastes. Thus, treatment of municipal waste before application is important. A zero-tolerance for pathogens in wastes land-applied for crop growth would seem unnecessary when proper management is used.

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