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Meeting the Challenge of Organic Contaminant Concentration Limits in Residuals

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Regulatory chemical quality criteria for the reuse of organic residuals have historically focused on trace metal concentrations in residuals. Traditionally, many state regulations have taken on the federal 503 regulatory trace metal limits as their own for biosolids and other similar residuals such as pulp and paper mill sludge, or short paper fiber. In these cases, the intensive risk assessment performed by the U.S. EPA and the extensive body of literature available on the risks associated with trace metals in biosolids have provided confidence in trace metal standards. While the EPA did look at risks posed by organic contaminants in biosolids as part of the 503 risk assessment, the lack of final numerical standards, and the perceived data gap for these risks, has precipitated the development, in some cases, of individual state standards for organic contaminants in biosolids and other residuals.

The paper will focus on testing requirements for organic compounds in biosolids and short paper fiber in New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont. Additionally, this paper will summarize key finding of organic compound testing, and the individual state's regulatory responses to testing results for volatile organic compounds (VOCs), semi-volatile organic compounds (SVOCs) and dioxin. This paper will also examine changes in residuals recycling programs resulting from new organic compound standards. Finally, this paper will put into perspective the exposure to organic compounds from biosolids and short paper fiber relative other common exposures to the chemicals.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2003

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