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Enumerating Salmonella in biosolids for compliance with pathogen regulations

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Recently adopted federal regulations (40CFR Part 503) for land use of biosolids set maximum bacterial limits based on fecal coliform or Salmonella and specified test methods to be used. The cited Salmonella methods were not evaluated for their suitability for compliance testing before inclusion in the regulation. This study evaluated the Part 503 Salmonella methods and two other Salmonella methods previously developed to test biosolids and compost.

Ten samples each of activated sludge, anaerobically digested biosolids, and compost were analyzed by five different procedures. Statistical analysis (Kruskal-Wallis one-way analysis of variance) indicated there was a significant difference between methods (P < 0.001). Pairwise comparisons (Student-Newman-Keuls method) showed that the two methods that had been developed for testing biosolids were not significantly (P < 0.05) different and recovered significantly (P < 0.05) more salmonellae than the 503 cited methods. One 503 method failed to detect Salmonella in 43% of samples containing salmonellae. Only one of the three 503 specified Salmonella test methods appeared acceptable for compliance testing.


Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 1, 1995

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  • Water Environment Research® (WER®) publishes peer-reviewed research papers, research notes, state-of-the-art and critical reviews on original, fundamental and applied research in all scientific and technical areas related to water quality, pollution control, and management. An annual Literature Review provides a review of published books and articles on water quality topics from the previous year.

    Published as: Sewage Works Journal, 1928 - 1949; Sewage and Industrial Wastes, 1950 - 1959; Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, 1959 - Oct 1989; Research Journal Water Pollution Control Federation, Nov 1989 - 1991; Water Environment Research, 1992 - present.
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