The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (District) produces 190,000 dry tons of biosolids annually and uses them to fertilize turf and crops. The District has maintained a continuous corn fertility study, with replicated plots receiving 0 (commercial fertilizer),
16.8, 33.6, and 67.2 Mg biosolids ha−1 annually, since 1973. Samples from 2000 were used to evaluate the effect of long-term biosolids applications on the radioactivity concentration in soil, and the uptake of radioactivity into corn grain and stover. There were no significant
differences (p<0.05) in radionuclides concentrations in soil, corn grain and stover among the treatment plots. Of the 27 radionuclides studied, only potassium-40 (grain and stover) and radium-226 (grain) were detected in plant tissue. Long-term annual applications of biosolids did not increase
radioactive materials concentration in soil or increase uptake of radioactivity by corn in biosolids-amended soil, compared to fertilized, plots in this study.
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