Is The Quality of Groundwater Affected By The Land Application of Biosolids?



One of the concerns of communities when it comes to the presence of biosolids treatment plant in their area is the quality of groundwater. Treatment plants use advanced processes to make sure that the sewage sludge they retrieved from household waste can be converted to biosolids. In such processes, the facilities would need to tap into groundwater to flush out toxins and other chemicals from the sewage sludge. This is a cause for concern for many people in the neighborhood because they, too, are directly benefiting from groundwater.

But this is not the only scenario where neighborhoods and communities are known to question the quality of groundwater in relation to the presence of biosolids. If you own an agricultural land or a ranch that uses biosolids for the growth of crops, vegetation, and plants, you may hear comments from your neighbors regarding what could be the effect of biosolids on their groundwater.

No impact on groundwater

The United States Environmental Protection Agency or the US EPA has published a set of guidelines for agricultural land using biosolids to follow. One of the requirements for these facilities to continue operating is to ensure that there would be no effect on the groundwater. The same agency is also governing treatment facilities to ensure that the processes they do would not have an adverse effect on the quality of ground water as this will affect the communities and neighborhoods dependent on that groundwater.

Studies conducted showed that the use of biosolids has no impact on the quality of groundwater because the US EPA has very strict guidelines and regulations on the management of biosolids application sites. In 1999, there was a study made on the sites of biosolids application. For the past 20 years before 1999, that site has been fertilized by biosolids but even after two decades, tests of deep wells at an agricultural research site showed no evidence of nitrate leaching and negligible fecal coliform concentrations.

In 2008, there was a literature survey regarding the possible contamination of groundwater because of the application of biosolids. That study concluded that ““groundwater contamination from land application of biosolids does not appear to be likely.”

The misconceptions about biosolids continue to affect the nationwide application of biosolids in agricultural lands, forestlands, ranches, reclaimed mining sites, and many more. There seems to be a lack of information drive on the part of the government as communities continue to frown upon the existence of biosolids facilities in their midst.

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