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Fate of PBDEs in Biosolids and Soil from Farms that Receive Biosolids Application

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Polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) are used as additives in consumer products for their fire-retardant properties. While scientists observe PBDEs in various environmental media, little is known of their fate in soils. This study examines the potential fate of PBDEs in soils treated with biosolids. Surface soil samples were collected from commercial farms in the Mid-Atlantic region. Biosolids samples from the source wastewater treatment plant were collected to evaluate PBDE levels and trends. Results show that mean concentration of PBDEs in biosolids is 1496±158mg/kgd.w., mean concentration in soil from fields that had not received biosolids was 6.8mg/kgd.w., fields with a single application had a mean of 18mg/kgd.w., and fields with multiple applications had a mean of 52mg/kgd.w. Statistical analysis revealed that concentrations in the multiple-application group were significantly higher than those in the singleapplication group. This work suggests that PBDEs are relatively persistent in agricultural soils.

Keywords: PBDE's; biosolids; soils

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2009

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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 These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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