National Academies Press: OpenBook
Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
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Biosolids Applied to Land

Advancing Standards and Practices

Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land

Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology

Division on Earth and Life Studies

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
Washington, D.C.
www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS
500 Fifth Street, NW Washington, D.C. 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This project was supported by Grant No. X-82862501 between the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the organizations or agencies that provided support for this project.

International Standard Book Number 0-309-08486-5

Library of Congress Control Number 2002112634

Cover photograph by Robert O’Dette, Synagro.

Additional copies of this report are available from:
The National Academies Press
500 Fifth Street, NW Box 285 Washington, DC 20055 800–624–6242 202–334–3313 (in the Washington metropolitan area) http://www.nap.edu

Copyright 2002 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. Wm.A.Wulf is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Harvey V.Fineberg is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Bruce M.Alberts and Dr. Wm.A.Wulf are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council

www.national-academies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
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COMMITTEE ON TOXICANTS AND PATHOGENS IN BIOSOLIDS APPLIED TO LAND

Members

THOMAS A.BURKE (Chair),

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

LAWRENCE R.CURTIS,

Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon

CHARLES N.HAAS,

Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

ELLEN Z.HARRISON,

Cornell University, Ithaca, New York

WILLIAM E.HALPERIN,

New Jersey Medical School, Newark, New Jersey

JOHN B.KANEENE,

Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan

GREG KESTER,

Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Madison, Wisconsin

STEPHEN P.MCGRATH,

Institute for Arable Crops Research, Rothamsted, England

THOMAS E.MCKONE,

University of California, Berkeley, California

IAN L.PEPPER,

University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona

SURESH D.PILLAI,

Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas

FREDERICK G.POHLAND,

University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

ROBERT S.REIMERS,

Tulane University, New Orleans, Louisiana

ROSALIND A.SCHOOF,

Gradient Corporation, Mercer Island, Washington

DONALD L.SPARKS,

University of Delaware, Newark, Delaware

ROBERT C.SPEAR,

University of California, Berkeley, California

Staff

SUSAN N.J.MARTEL, Study Director

MARK C.GIBSON, Program Officer

ROBERTA M.WEDGE, Program Director for Risk Analysis

RUTH E.CROSSGROVE, Editor

JESSICA BROCK, Senior Project Assistant

MIRSADA KARALIC-LONCAREVIC, Research Assistant

KELLY A.CLARK, Editorial Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
×

BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY1

Members

GORDON ORIANS (Chair),

University of Washington, Seattle

JOHN DOULL (Vice Chair),

University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City

DAVID ALLEN,

University of Texas, Austin

INGRID C.BURKE,

Colorado State University, Fort Collins

THOMAS BURKE,

Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland

WILLIAM L.CHAMEIDES,

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

CHRISTOPHER B.FIELD,

Carnegie Institute of Washington, Stanford, California

DANIEL S.GREENBAUM,

Health Effects Institute, Cambridge, Massachusetts

BRUCE D.HAMMOCK,

University of California, Davis

ROGENE HENDERSON,

Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Albuquerque, New Mexico

CAROL HENRY,

American Chemistry Council, Arlington, Virginia

ROBERT HUGGETT,

Michigan State University, East Lansing

JAMES H.JOHNSON,

Howard University, Washington, D.C.

JAMES F.KITCHELL,

University of Wisconsin, Madison

DANIEL KREWSKI,

University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario

JAMES A.MACMAHON,

Utah State University, Logan

WILLEM F.PASSCHIER,

Health Council of the Netherlands, The Hague

ANN POWERS,

Pace University School of Law, White Plains, New York

LOUISE M.RYAN,

Harvard University, Boston, Massachusetts

KIRK SMITH,

University of California, Berkeley

LISA SPEER,

Natural Resources Defense Council, New York, New York

Senior Staff

JAMES J.REISA, Director

DAVID J.POLICANSKY, Associate Director and Senior Program Director for Applied Ecology

RAYMOND A.WASSEL, Senior Program Director for Environmental Sciences and Engineering

KULBIR BAKSHI, Program Director for the Committee on Toxicology

ROBERTA M.WEDGE, Program Director for Risk Analysis

K.JOHN HOLMES, Senior Staff Officer

SUSAN N.J.MARTEL, Senior Staff Officer

SUZANNE VAN DRUNICK, Senior Staff Officer

RUTH E.CROSSGROVE, Managing Editor

1  

This study was planned, overseen, and supported by the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology.

Page viii Cite
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WATER SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY BOARD

Members

RICHARD G.LUTHY (Chair),

Stanford University, Stanford, California

JOAN B.ROSE (Vice Chair),

University of South Florida, St. Petersburg

RICHELLE M.ALLEN-KING,

Washington State University, Pullman

GREGORY B.BAECHER,

University of Maryland, College Park

KENNETH R.BRADBURY,

Wisconsin Geological and Natural History Survey, Madison

JAMES CROOK,

CH2M Hill, Boston, Massachusetts

EFI FOUFOULA-GEORGIOU,

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

PETER GLEICK,

Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, California

STEVEN P.GLOSS,

U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona

JOHN LETEY, JR.,

University of California, Riverside

DIANE M.MCKNIGHT,

University of Colorado, Boulder

CHRISTINE L.MOE,

Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

RUTHERFORD H.PLATT,

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

JERALD L.SCHNOOR,

University of Iowa, Iowa City

LEONARD SHABMAN,

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg

R.RHODES TRUSSELL,

Montgomery Watson, Pasadena, California

Staff

STEPHEN D.PARKER, Director

LAURA J.EHLERS, Senior Staff Officer

JEFFREY W.JACOBS, Senior Staff Officer

WILLIAM S.LOGAN, Senior Staff Officer

MARK C.GIBSON, Staff Officer

M.JEANNE AQUILINO, Administrative Associate

ELLEN A.DE GUZMAN, Research Associate

PATRICIA JONES KERSHAW, Study/Research Associate

ANITA A.HALL, Administrative Assistant

ANIKE L.JOHNSON, Project Assistant

JON Q.SANDERS, Project Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
×

OTHER REPORTS OF THE BOARD ON ENVIRONMENTAL STUDIES AND TOXICOLOGY

The Airliner Cabin Environment and Health of Passengers and Crew (2002)

Arsenic in Drinking Water: 2001 Update (2001)

Evaluating Vehicle Emissions Inspection and Maintenance Programs (2001)

Compensating for Wetland Losses Under the Clean Water Act (2001)

A Risk-Management Strategy for PCB-Contaminated Sediments (2001)

Toxicological Effects of Methylmercury (2000)

Strengthening Science at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency: Research-Management and Peer-Review Practices (2000)

Scientific Frontiers in Developmental Toxicology and Risk Assessment (2000)

Copper in Drinking Water (2000)

Ecological Indicators for the Nation (2000)

Waste Incineration and Public Health (1999)

Hormonally Active Agents in the Environment (1999)

Research Priorities for Airborne Particulate Matter (3 reports, 1998–2001)

Ozone-Forming Potential of Reformulated Gasoline (1999)

Risk-Based Waste Classification in California (1999)

Arsenic in Drinking Water (1999)

Brucellosis in the Greater Yellowstone Area (1998)

The National Research Council’s Committee on Toxicology: The First 50 Years (1997)

Carcinogens and Anticarcinogens in the Human Diet (1996)

Upstream: Salmon and Society in the Pacific Northwest (1996)

Science and the Endangered Species Act (1995)

Wetlands: Characteristics and Boundaries (1995)

Biologic Markers (5 reports, 1989–1995)

Review of EPA’s Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program (3 reports, 1994–1995)

Science and Judgment in Risk Assessment (1994)

Pesticides in the Diets of Infants and Children (1993)

Setting Priorities for Land Conservation (1993)

Protecting Visibility in National Parks and Wilderness Areas (1993)

Dolphins and the Tuna Industry (1992)

Science and the National Parks (1992)

Assessment of the U.S. Outer Continental Shelf Environmental Studies Program, Volumes I–IV (1991–1993)

Human Exposure Assessment for Airborne Pollutants (1991)

Rethinking the Ozone Problem in Urban and Regional Air Pollution (1991)

Decline of the Sea Turtles (1990)

Copies of these reports may be ordered from the National Academy Press

(800) 624–6242 or (202) 334–3313

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
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Preface

In this report, biosolids are defined as sewage sludge that has been treated to meet the regulatory requirements for land application set out in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 40 (Part 503). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Part 503 rule and is responsible for overseeing the national biosolids program. The land-application requirements include concentration limits and loading rates for chemical pollutants, treatment and use requirements for controlling and reducing pathogens and the attraction of vectors, and management practices. The requirements are intended to protect public health and the environment from any reasonably anticipated adverse effects. Over the past decade, questions have been raised about the adequacy of the chemical and pathogen standards for protecting public health. To help address the questions and the requirement for periodic reassessment of the Part 503 rule, EPA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to independently review the technical basis of the chemical and pathogen regulations for biosolids, focusing only on human health.

In this report, the NRC’s Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land (membership and biographical information provided in Appendix A) searched for evidence on human health effects related to biosolids exposure and the technical methods and approaches used by EPA to establish its human-health-based chemical and pathogen standards for biosolids. The NRC and the committee are aware that some interested parties were anticipating that this report might make a determination of whether EPA should continue to promote land application of biosolids. However, such a

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
×

determination was not part of the committee’s charge. The committee agrees that regulations must be adequate to protect human health and the environment and that they must be complied with and enforced. The committee was asked to focus its review on approaches for identifying human health hazards, for assessing exposure to those hazards, and for assessing risk from the exposures. This report offers numerous recommendations to update and strengthen the scientific credibility of the biosolids regulations and to ensure their consistent implementation.

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the NRC’s Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report: Robert Cooper, BioVir Laboratories, Inc., Benicia, California; Alison Cullen, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Charles Henry, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington; Cecil Lue-Hing, Cecil Lue-Hing & Associates, Inc., Burr Ridge, Illinois; Philip Landrigan, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, New York; Aaron Margolin, University of New Hampshire, Durham, New Hampshire; Penny Newman, Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice, Riverside, California; George O’Connor, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida; Robert Southworth, Marshall, Virginia; Alan Stern, New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Trenton, New Jersey; Willy Verstraete, University of Gent, Gent, Belgium; and William Yanko, Big Bear City, California.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Michael Kavanaugh, Malcolm Pirnie, Inc., Emeryville, California, and Ronald Estabrook, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas. Appointed by the NRC, they were responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

The committee gratefully acknowledges the individuals who made presentations to the committee at its public meetings. A list of those individuals is

Page xiii Cite
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provided in Appendix B. The committee also wishes to thank EPA staff members Alan Hais, Robert Bastian, Alan Rubin, James Smith, and Charles White for their assistance in providing documents and information.

The committee is grateful for the assistance of the NRC staff in preparing the report. It particularly wishes to acknowledge the contributions of Susan Martel, project director, who coordinated the project and contributed to the committee’s report. Other staff members who contributed to this effort are James J.Reisa, director of the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology; Roberta M.Wedge, program director for risk analysis; Mark Gibson, program officer (Water Science and Technology Board); Ruth E.Crossgrove, editor; Mirsada Karalic-Loncarevic, research assistant; and Jessica Brock, senior project assistant.

Finally, I would especially like to thank all the members of the committee for their efforts throughout the development of this report.

Thomas A.Burke, Ph.D. Chair, Committee on Toxicants and Pathogens in Biosolids Applied to Land

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Abbreviations


CFR

Code of Federal Regulations

CFU

colony forming units

CWA

Clean Water Act


EQ

exceptional quality


HEI

highly exposed individual


MEI

most exposed individual

MPN

most probable number

MT

metric tons


NIOSH

National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health

NRC

National Research Council

NSSS

National Sewage Sludge Survey


OIG

EPA Office of Inspector General


PCBs

polychlorinated biphenyls

PEC

Pathogen Equivalency Committee

PFRP

process to further reduce pathogens

PFU

plaque-forming unit

POTW

publicly owned treatment works

PSRP

process to significantly reduce pathogens


QMRA

quantitative microbial risk assessment


RME

reasonable maximum exposure


TEF

toxicity equivalency factor

TS

total solids

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2002. Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/10426.
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Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices

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The 1993 regulation (Part 503 Rule) governing the land application of biosolids was established to protect public health and the environment from reasonably anticipated adverse effects. Included in the regulation are chemical pollutant limits, operational standards designed to reduce pathogens and the attraction of disease vectors, and management practices. This report from the Board on Environmental Studies and Toxicology evaluates the technical methods and approaches used by EPA to establish those standards and practices, focusing specifically on human health protection. The report examines improvements in risk-assessment practices and advances in the scientific database since promulgation of the regulation, and makes recommendations for addressing public health concerns, uncertainties, and data gaps about the technical basis of the biosolids standards.

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