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In 2005, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded funding to the New England Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA) to conduct a national survey on biosolids quality and end use. In the fall of 2005, the project team surveyed state biosolids coordinators about the availability and reliability of biosolids data in their states. A separate survey on data needs was conducted as well; respondents included a wide spectrum of stakeholders in the biosolids “community.” In addition, the project team conducted a literature review to identify previous biosolids management surveys and analyzed the data collection methodologies and assumptions used in those surveys. Based on the findings, a survey questionnaire was developed and peer reviewed. The surveys were sent to state biosolids coordinators in April 2006; the coordinators were asked to provide data for calendar year 2004. Once state coordinators had responded, a second survey was conducted (using an online survey service) and other sources of data were sought in an attempt to fill in significant data gaps.

This paper provides a summary of the methodology of this survey work. The associated conference presentation and the final project report (referenced below and available online) provide final data, including data regarding wastewater treatment and biosolids infrastructure, regulation and permitting, biosolids quality, biosolids end use and disposal, trends in biosolids management, biosolids testing and reporting requirements, biosolids treatment practices, and septage management.

In addition to NEBRA, other project team members included BioCycle, Journal of Composting and Organics Recycling; Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources; Northwest Biosolids Management Association; with assistance from the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research, University of Maine.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2007-01-01

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