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As public acceptance issues surface around the nation, state regulatory programs as well as municipalities must question what can be done to address such opposition to beneficial use of biosolids. The state of Wisconsin has been actively promoting and enforcing land application and beneficial use options for biosolids since the early 1970's. More than 98% of the municipalities in Wisconsin ultimately recycle their biosolids, and do so with strong public support. Reasons for this success will be examined and recommendations made that can be utilized by other state regulatory agencies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and municipalities. Factors to be explored include the following: inclusion of the solids stream in the Wisconsin Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (WPDES) permit program has been integral in ensuring proper management of biosolids; establishing sludge treatment design standards; facility planning requirements including a mandate that sludge treatment and handling be considered in facility plans which are subject to Department approval; imposing site restrictions and criteria for every site including setbacks to homes, businesses, and schools, and environmental features; the requirement that every site be approved prior to use; specific requirements that generators not contract away responsibility or liability for the recycling of biosolids; the essential prohibition of application to frozen or snow covered ground which is implemented by a six month storage requirement; proactive communication channels between the regulators, the regulated community, and the public; sufficient commitment at the state level to program implementation and national involvement. Underlying the above strategies is the assumption that effective management and oversight are key elements to successful biosolids recycling programs.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2007

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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