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Most of us take for granted our bathrooms, restrooms and toilet facilities wherever we go in these United States, but have how many of us ever stopped to think about where the stuff we flush goes? About 80 percent of people recently surveyed knew that what we flush goes into a sewer pipe, but less than 10 percent of them knew that it ended up in a wastewater treatment plant. Of this 10 percent less than one percent knew what happens at the wastewater treatment plant and how sewage sludge and biosolids are generated. Furthermore, during the past year, several very significant issues have emerged that could have an impact on all biosolids management options available to municipal generators. In essence, the beneficial recycling of biosolids (includes Class B, Class A and Exceptional Quality (EQ) biosolids) could be affected depending upon how these issues are resolved. It will be shown that there are at least half a dozen major issues that will determine the future of beneficial biosolids recycling in the United States.

These issues are already having negative impacts on beneficial biosolids recycling programs across the country. More importantly, they have the potential to either severely restrict or prevent the beneficial recycling of biosolids and biosolids-derived products in the United States. This paper provides an overview the wastewater treatment process and looks at the current situation relative to biosolids--examining the potential impacts and future ramifications for biosolids management options.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2002

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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