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As California's population has mushroomed in the past decade, so has its generation of wastewater treatment byproducts, including sewage sludge. With increased regulation of traditional disposal methods, the major urban areas of the state have increased their dependence on land application and reuse of this material as biosolids. The majority of this reuse is occurring on agricultural lands in California's Central Valley. Concerns over this trend are being voiced by the state's agricultural and water supply interests. In response to these concerns, the California State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) has been developing a statewide general order to regulate biosolids reuse. The draft general order has adopted the regulatory framework established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in its Part 503 regulations, and has added a few more restrictive components to account for the diverse environments that exist throughout the state. To meet state environmental review requirements, the SWRCB has prepared an environmental impact report for the proposed regulation. The literature reviews and public involvement segments of this process have revealed that the key issues separating the public's perception and the wastewater industry's experience regarding biosolids reuse center on public health, groundwater protection, and farmland productivity. Pressures of public perception and the shortage of technical literature regarding land application is pushing the state toward more restrictive controls and the wastewater treatment industry toward reevaluation of its longterm commitment to land application of biosolids in California.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2000-01-01

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