Addressing The Issues of Pathogens And Toxic Chemicals In Biosolids

The various misconceptions we have about the presence of biosolids in our communities create a negative and adverse effects on the government’s plan to shift to biosolids from chemical and commercial-grade fertilizers. The world of biosolids is highly technical and it requires special skills and technical knowledge to be deciphered.

Many people understandably don’t have the knowledge required appreciate the way nutrients moved through the soil. They also don’t understand that the perceived potential risks are nothing compared to the benefits of biosolids to the community they serve.

The EPA, in particular, has developed a set of guidelines and measurements for the correct usage and application of biosolids on agricultural land, forestlands, and even in home gardens. These guidelines will also set the standard for the control, the use, and the disposal of biosolids.


ROne of the main reasons why communities frown at the entrance of biosolids into their local agricultural farms and even in their gardening stores is the possible and potential spread of disease-causing organisms. The exposure to pathogens make people wary about the benefits of biosolids to their communities.

Disease-causing organisms that could be found in biosolids are bacteria, protozoa, viruses, and viable helminth ova. These are not the only organisms that could live in biosolids, but these are the most common types of pathogens. These, however, can be eliminated by treating biosolids prior to land application. Treatment plants use a number of technologies to control pathogens and reduce vectors.

Toxic chemicals

Another perceived risk and is often the cause of animosity between plant managers and the community leaders is the possible presence of a small concentration or dose of toxic chemicals. Of course, because biosolids are produced from sewage sludge, it is not entirely impossible that they could contain harmful and toxic chemicals.

Most of the pollutants that can be found there are considered toxic and harmful at certain concentrations and doses. However, it should be noted that high concentrations have rarely been found in biosolids, so there should be no cause of concern for many communities.

Common foods and medicines such as salt and aspirin have doses of chemicals, but their normal levels are safe. It should be noted that when the chemicals reached high doses in food products, it could be toxic and harmful for human consumption.

The toxicity of a food product is rated like this: supertoxic (a taste of 7 drops), extremely toxic (7 drops to 1 teaspoon), very toxic (1 teaspoon to 1 ounce), moderately toxic (1 ounce to 1 pint), slightly toxic (1 pint to 1 quart), and practically nontoxic (more than one quart).

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