Meeting Minutes

Application of Sewage Biosolids to Agricultural Soils in the Northeast: Long-Term Impacts and Beneficial Uses


NE 1001 Annual Meeting

July 8-9, 2004

Ithaca, NY


Bowman, Dwight                      Cornell, Microbiology and Immunology

Elliot, Chip                               Penn State, Ag and Bio Engineering (July 8)

Harrison, Ellen              Cornell, Waste Management Institute

Hay, Anthony                           Cornell, Microbiology (July 8)

Kim, Bojeong                           Cornell, Environmental Toxicology

Liotta, Janice                            Cornell, Microbiology and Immunology

Lucio Forster, Araceli               Cornell, Microbiology and Immunology

McBride, Murray                     Cornell, Crop and Soil Sciences

Morant, Mervalin                      USDA-CSREES, Natural Resources and Environment

Osher, Laurie                           U of Maine, Soil and Water Quality

Peckenham, John                      U of Maine, Mitchell Center

Pfeffer, Max                             Cornell (July 8)

Richards, Brian             Cornell, Bio and Env Engineering

Scherer, Emily                          Cornell, Waste Management Institute

Steenhuis, Tammo                    Cornell, Bio and Env Engineering

Stehouwer, Richard                  Penn State, Dept of Agronomy (July 8)

Wise, Abigail                            Cornell, Microbiology (July 8)

Zubris, Kimberly                       Cornell, Bio and Env Engineering (July 8)


Minutes of Annual Meeting:


Thursday, July 8, 2004

E. Harrison welcomed the participants at 8:35 AM, and participants introduced themselves.  E. Harrison reviewed the revised agenda.


Topic Section 1:  Metals


“Copper, zinc and molybdenum soil tests for bioavailability”

Presenter:  M. McBride, Cornell


Copper.  Sources of copper include fungicides, dairy hoof baths, and sewage biosolids. Most tests do not measure the toxic form -the free copper ion, Cu+2.  Average soil concentration is 14-18 mg total copper/kg.  The suggested limit is 100 mg/kg.  Some dairy soils and hog farms are approaching or exceeding this recommendation. Toxicity concerns increase with low soil pH and sandy soils.  Susceptible plants include corn and many grasses.  Stunted plants, due to poor root system from Cu2+, show wilt first in drought conditions.  Estimated 99% of copper is found in a Cu-organic matter complex, which is thought to be less toxic.  Different soil tests for Cu are not directly comparable.  Mehlich 3, an aggressive test, is reported as ppm in soil.  Toxicity is seen at 30 ppm.  Morgan’s is less aggressive than Mehlich 3 and reported as lbs/acre in soil.  Mehlich 3 and Morgan’s are probably not related to bioavailability of Cu.  CaCl2-extractable, reported as mg/L in soil solution, measures the soluble fraction, but not necessarily the toxic form.  Cu2+ activity measures free copper which is directly toxic to the root.  It is reported as pCu and toxicity is seen at 10 to 7 pCu.  In the presence of a buffer (i.e. soil or sewage biosolids matrix), detection limit is much lower than in a standard copper solution.  The electrode is put directly into a slurry or filtered soil extract.  Most agricultural soils at pH 6 contain enough organic matter to provide buffer.  Tests can correlate copper concentration to total soil concentration and pH, but cannot show what copper is biologically significant.  Murray believes there is no copper soil test that really works.  Currently high levels are flagged to look at more closely.  The effect of lime on copper concentrations was discussed.   Lime makes copper more soluble unless the pH is below 6 (perhaps due to heavy manure application) in which cause liming will lower free copper activity.


Zinc.  Sources of zinc include sewage biosolids, feed additives, and fertilizers.  Zinc may be toxic to crops at high levels.  Total Zn concentration in NY farm soils averages 75 mg/kg.  A total Zn concentration greater than 200 mg/kg may be toxic, especially if the pH is lower than 6. Zn is extractable by Mehlich 3 but at amounts 100 to 1000 times the amount available to plants.  Plant uptake of Zn is dominated by pH.  (EPA Method 3051 reports total mineral except for silicate bound.)


Molybdenum.  Sources of Mo include fly ash, sewage biosolids, and fossil fuel emission.  Crops readily take up Mo if the pH isn’t low and toxic to ruminants at high forage levels.  Water extractable levels predict crop uptake well.  Total Mo concentrations greater than 2 mg/kg may be the limit for non-acid calcareous soils.  Mehlich 3 causes Mo to precipitate and reabsorb due to the low pH. 


- Cu and Zn extracted by Morgan's and Mehlich 3 tests are roughly proportional to total soil Cu and Zn


- Cu activity in soils, the most direct measure of toxicity to roots, is strongly related to pH


- total soil Cu and Zn are well above average in several livestock farm fields tested in NY, but no soils reached toxic limits as indicated by CaCl2 and pCu test


- corn stover Cu and Zn contents are well below phytotoxic thresholds on these farms despite high metals in some soils


- there is a poor correlation between  commonly used soil tests and corn tissue composition


- a preferred soil test would extract "bioavailable pool" of trace metals


- hot CaCl2 better extracts the crop-available "pool" than Mehlich 3 or Morgan's


- for some trace metals, CaCl2 test provides a clearly better estimate of crop-available metal than Mehlich 3 test


Research Summary

         A simple multi-element soil test for plant-available trace elements and heavy metals (0.01 M CaCl2 test), developed during this research, provides a quantitative basis for measuring deficiencies and excesses of these nutrients in soils.  This test has the potential to reduce confusion associated with the array of tests presently in use for trace metals (e.g., Morgan's, Mehlich 3 ), tests which were not designed initially for estimating trace element availability. In fact, our recent comparison of the Mehlich 3 and 0.01 M CaCl2 tests revealed the latter test to be a more accurate predictor of crop uptake of metals such as Cd, Zn and Mo (McBride et al., 2003).


Our research on the residual bioavailability of trace elements in land-applied sewage biosolids to important forage crops in the Northeast, particularly forage legumes and grasses, indicates that the element with the greatest potential for sustained uptake in high-lime soils common in some of the most productive agricultural regions of New York and the Northeast is molybdenum. However, more data are needed for sulfur in forage crops, as initial evidence indicates that forages grown on farms where sewage biosolids is being used as a fertilizer are higher in this element. The combination of high Mo and S in forages can be harmful to the health and productivity of ruminant animals by inducing sub-clinical or even severe copper deficiency. Based upon the measured uptake of Mo into forages from long-term sewage biosolids-amended plots, it is concluded that cumulative loadings of Mo on the order of 10 kg/ha are excessive on near-neutral soils, despite the likelihood of some loss of Mo by leaching. To protect the health of grazing livestock, loadings of Mo may need to be limited to no more than 1-2 kg/ha.


Discussion.  Harrison asked if you were likely to see variations seasonally dependent on soil conditions?  McBride suspected that you would.  Where and when do you take samples?  Copper activity changes drastically over the growing season.  It would also vary depending on when the copper-bearing material was applied.


“Use of hot 0.01 M CaCl2 extractant to determine Mo availability and uptake by crops”

Presenter:  Richard Stehouwer, Penn State

(See PowerPoint presentation, handout)


Conclusions:  Soil Mo cumulative load from sewage biosolids is a poor indicator of crop uptake.  For soy bean (whole plant) there is a fairly good correlation between plant uptake and CaCl2 extraction.  This correlation does not hold for all crops and all sewage biosolids.  Soil pH is also a better indicator of crop Mo than cumulative Mo loading, but not for all crops and all sewage biosolids.  Greatest risk for hypocuprosis occurs with sewage biosolids applications that increase the soil pH above 7 combined with a crop that is susceptible to increased soil Mo availability.  Though data from this case (pH 8 with whole plant soybean) shows Cu/Mo ratio approaching but not going below the threshold value of 2.



M. McBride asked if these experiments used established alfalfa?  R. Stehouwer believes the stand is at least 2 years old, perhaps 3.  E. Harrison asked when does one sample?  Because Mo may be fairly readily soluble, is there a flush of Mo after application?  R. Stehouwer explained with some sewage biosolids there is a flush, especially in higher pH material.  M. McBride added that there is evidence that bioavailability increases over 3 years (research at Guelph).  This work mirrors B. Richards’ greenhouse work.  A. Hay asked about the origin of the threshold ratio.  M. McBride said it originated from early work with sheep in Europe.  The United States did work in the 50’ and 60’s with beef cattle.  The threshold of 2 is not protective.  The Cornell vet school recommends a threshold of 4-8. 


“Long-term changes in Cd, Cu, and Zn solubilities and their total concentration in sewage-sludge amended soils”

Presenter:  Bojeong Kim

(See PowerPoint presentation)


There is a lack of research on the behavior and fate of metals.  The research involved 3 sewage biosolids products:  dewatered-digested, alkaline-stabilized, and composted.  Soil pH increased over time in dewatered-digested sample (due to lime addition during dewatering) in both Arkport and Hudson soils.  Soil organic matter content decreased over time in both Hudson and Arkport soils.  Free iron oxide did not change over time in either soil. 


Conclusions:  Temporal changes in the solubilities of Cd, Cu, and Zn in both CaCl2 and EDTA extractions are observed, although total metal concentration in the soils has not changed over time.  Total metal concentrations in the Arkport soils are lower than those in the Hudson soils for all treatments for equal metal loadings.  Significant metal losses from the Arkport soils were apparent in the early cropping cycles.  Changes in metal solubilities in sewage biosolids-amended soils occur over time.  The changes are dependent on the nature of the metal, the type of sewage biosolids product, and the soil characteristics. 


Discussion:  B. Richards commented he has not seen leaching to this extent. E. Harrison asked if there was any phytotoxicity associated with treatments.  M.  McBride explained these treatments have low metal loadings.  They do not expect measurable toxicity, but tests haven’t been run.  Samples to do so are available. 

“Cu accumulation in soil from dairy use of CuSO4 hoof baths”

Presenter:  Rich Stehouwer.

(See PowerPoint presentation, PowerPoint handout)

Typo on slide 5:  Cu in dry manure for farm 1 should be 297.


Objectives of this work included assessing patterns of CuSO4 hoof bath use, management and disposal practices on PA dairy farm; assessing the fate of Cu when hoof bath solution is added to manure management systems; and assessing fate and bioavailability of Cu when manure enriched with CuSO4 is added to soil.  The three free stall operations studied, A, B and C, used hoof baths either daily, 4 to 5 times a week or 6 times a week, respectively.  Total copper concentrations in the bath ranged from 0.8 to 1.5% Cu.  (2.5% Cu is recommended.)  During the past 10 years, farms A and B had increased the amount of Cu they use.  All farms had a liquid manure system and spent hoof baths were dumped into the manure management system.  Cu loadings for farms A, B, and C were 5.0, 1.5, and 2.1 kg Cu ha-1 yr-1, respectively.  On farms with lower loading rates, you don’t see much accumulation, but in farm A, there is clearly some significant accumulation of Cu in 0-10 cm depth.  (Note:  Farms 1, 2, 3 on slide 4 are Farms C, B, A.)  There is no evidence of Cu uptake from tissue analysis of corn silage for Farm A.  The farm was spray irrigating with spray gun.  Clean corn samples were taken from deep in the field outside range of spray gun.  “Black corn” samples were taken from within the spray gun range.  Farms spray irrigate several times during the season.  When this sampling occurred, there was a very visible presence of spray.  Unwashed black corn contains a very high concentration of copper- 102 ppm.  The washed sample concentration is 30 ppm.  It appears that there is not much uptake but there is some foliar presence/uptake.  It is unknown if the Cu is absorbed or on surface.  In silage process, unwashed black corn is mixed in with rest.  Testing of silage is recommended.  Incubation experiment data shows a very strong correlation between CaCl2 Cu and soluble organic C.  This correlation does not hold up with Mehlich or Baker.  As pH increases, there seems to be a correlated increase in CaCl2 Cu. 


Conclusions:  The bottom line is disposing of copper sulfate hoof baths in manure will increase the copper in the manure and copper will accumulate in soil where manure is spread.  Soil copper could eventually reach levels that are toxic to crops or soil microbes, though for most operations this will take decades.  Annual crop removal of copper will be around 0.5 lb/acre.  Dairies adding less than 2 lb Cu acre-1 year-1 will have extremely slow accumulation.  Dairies adding more than 5 lb Cu acre-1 year-1 will have more rapid accumulation and should consider taking steps to reduce amount of CuSO4 used such as cutting the bath concentration to 5% or lower and periodically testing soils and crops for Cu.  Another recommendation is to put a clean water bath ahead of the copper sulfate bath to prevent fouling of the copper bath.


Discussion:  E. Harrison asked about Cu supplementing and rations.  R. Stehouwer replied that 100-ppm is the maximum copper recommended for dairy cattle.  There is some evidence that copper can accumulate in the liver at toxic threshold feeding of 40 ppm but it depends on length of feeding and form of Cu.  The concentration of Cu needed for control (standard is 10%, testing may indicate 5% is suitable) and alternatives (formaldehyde, zinc sulfate, organics) were discussed.  It was noted that dairies in Chino, CA are on sewer.  The variations between sewage biosolids and manure in N contents were discussed.   N content is probably the same order of magnitude, but the mineralization assumptions are different and sewage biosolids application would be higher.  E. Harrison is urging the Pro-Dairy people to look at alternatives to hoof baths.  Recycling of the copper was discussed.  B. Richards noted there are a lot of manure solids in the baths, which would require separation and purification.  A separate waste stream was discussed and the challenges to this including the use of copper throughout the barn to wash wounds, teats, etc.  The greatest volume, approximately 50 gallons, is coming from hoof baths as some dairies are changing the bath daily.  C. Elliot commented that because the copper sulfate is so cheap, it’s not economically worth recycling.  And even if it is separated, treatment plants won’t take it.  Landfills and use as a fertilizer/fungicide (i.e. potatoes) were discussed.  


“Testing soils for trace metals from land-applied wastes”

Presenter:  B. Richards

M. McBride and B. Richards were asked to put together an extension related publication to issues of land-applied wastes, metals, and soil testing.  They are looking for feedback on what information would be useful and should be included.  B. Richards reviewed the structure of the paper.  Trace elements were introduced and the soil testing approach was reviewed.  Extractants were discussed.  E. Harrison asked if total acid digestion is what EPA means by “total metal” tests.  B. Richards replied that there is an explanation of this in the text.  It was stressed that tests which were designed for a particular region’s soils and uniform soil types may be inappropriate for other areas.  Different tests results in state-to-state and lab-to-lab variations.  State-testing labs are reluctant to change due to investment in current procedures.  M. McBride commented that this investment was on the macronutrient side.  B. Richards talked about bridging the gap with extractant to extractant correlations that compound uncertainty and numerous analytical considerations.  C. Elliot cautioned the use of soil tests for other matrices.  B. Richards presented a table of recommended soil tests including the free ion electrode measurement for copper.  The expense of the Cu anion electrode was discussed.  Although the electrode itself is not expensive, using different extraction methods for different metals can be expensive.  Hot water CuCl2 (dilute unbuffered salt) extracts what is available to a plant over 1 to 2 years while Morgan’s solution extracts what would be available over a century.  C. Elliot asked about soil test for leaching.  B. Richards recommended dilute unbuffered salts.  A. Hay mentioned TCLP (toxic characteristic leaching procedure).  R. Stehouwer said that Penn State analytical services lab would offer Cu, Zn, and sulfur tests with Mehlich extraction.  Because other labs offer it, people are asking for it.  Penn State has looked at several thousand samples, determined the range that is usually seen in agricultural soils in PA that don’t exhibit toxicity and will recommend testing if the results are 2 to 3 times these typical levels.  M. McBride asked why people are asking for sulfur test.  R. Stehouwer explained that the fertilizer dealers are pushing sulfur fertilizer.  B. Richards concluded by addressing research needs and trends.  It was noted that they have not included how to take a sample.  E. Harrison recommended sending a draft to those who may use the document. Arsenic was discussed.  R. Stehouwer receives many calls from people inquiring about arsenic contamination because of housing developments that are going up on old orchard sites and CCA pressure-treated lumber.  Other concerns are labor union members driving on sites with dust exposure and horses ripping up grass and directly ingesting arsenic.  Currently they fall back on total arsenic numbers, which E. Harrison commented might be appropriate for ingestion/inhalation.  M. McBride agreed a dilute salt extraction would not be adequate if you want to mimic stomach pH.  L. Osher asked what is the error associated with sewage biosolids with high organic matter?  E. Harrison asked about sending a manure sample to the lab?  R. Stehouwer explained that there are different programs for different materials i.e. soil, manure, compost. 


Topic Section 2:  Nutrients and Organics


“Rational Phosphorus Management in Organic Residuals Recycling on Agricultural Land”

Presenter:  C. Elliott

(See PowerPoint handout, PowerPoint presentation and Water Environment Research paper)


P is limiting factor in most freshwater systems that controls aquatic growth.  When we are applying for nitrogen, we put on excess phosphorus.  Excess P can lead to eutrophication.  About 70% of P in PA waters originates from agriculture. Forty-seven states have adopted a P index approach to address the agricultural P issue, but most states have not explicitly considered sewage biosolids.  (Note:  In slide 8, STP stands for soil test P.)  A rational sewage biosolids P management strategy should a) consider soil test P interpretation based on environmental risk; b) recognize buffer zone practices the mitigate P export; c) consider source P solubility differences; and d) consider P source phytoavailability differences.  Sewage biosolids are very low in terms of water-soluble phosphorus. 


Conclusions:  P-based management will be imposed on sewage biosolids recycling.  Sewage biosolids have not been explicitly considered in most state P Indices.  P management policies will be deployed before the impact on sewage biosolids is fully appreciated.  Sewage biosolids recycling programs will only be sustainable if rational, scientifically defensible P management approaches are adopted at the state level.


Discussion:  The availability of P under saturated conditions (i.e. anaerobic) was discussed.  Experiments conditions with rainfall simulators are not saturated and natural conditions may be worse than with simulators.  C. Elliot replied that if P is bound with iron and the conditions are anaerobic, P is more soluble.  But cautioned that we’ve ignored P in the past and be careful about being extreme in the other direction.  Runoff was discussed and its dependence on geography and buffer vegetation. 


“Temporal distribution of estrogenic alkyl phenols in sewage sludge”

Presenter:  A. Wise

Alkylphenols are intermediates from anaerobic biodegradation of alkylphenol polyethoxylates (APE), a widely used class of nonionic surfactants.  Estrogen receptors recognize alkylphenols as estrogen, which can result in feminization of male trout, changes in sex ratio and reduced hatching rates.  Nonylphenol has been found in water, indoor air, and food.  This work was done to determine if there are seasonal trends associated with AP concentration in sewage biosolids in the central NY region.  All sewage biosolids used was from anaerobic digesters.  Results show seasonal trends vary between sites.  L. Osher asked why would you suspect seasonal differences?  A. Wise replied that in terms of biodegradation, studies show temperature dependent biodegradation.  Perhaps as temperatures increases, nonylphenol (NP) and octylphenol (OP) concentrations will decrease.  In order to compare NP and OP, one must look at the estrogenic potential.  OP is 20 times more potent than NP.  Average OP concentrations are converted into adjusted OP.  Of all sites, only Cayuga Heights sewage biosolids had higher adjusted OP levels than NP levels.  This plant operates a trickling biofilter versus activated sewage biosolids in all other plants.  Using the highest total NP (NP and OP adjusted), there is an estrogenic amount comparable to 500-μg/kg 17β estradiol (a naturally occurring estrogen which occurs in sewage biosolids at 9-50 μg/kg).  Other compounds found in samples included triclosan and synthetic musks. 

Conclusions:  There appear to be local seasonal NP and OP trends.  There does not appear to be a universal trend for NP or OP across 3 plants.  Local sewage biosolids concentrations of NP and OP are significant. 

Discussion:  E. Harrison asked if the levels of triclosan (an antibacterial) were high enough to affect the sewage treatment plant?  A. Hay replied that 20 to 80% is removed resulting in an amount below the effective concentration for bacteria.  The effluent range is toxic to the more sensitive freshwater algae.  Natural estrogen compounds were discussed.  They were not investigated in this research and there is no published number for background numbers in soil.  From research regarding estrogens in poultry manure applied to land, some background numbers were found but they were incredibly low.  17β estradiol is found in dairy manure at 1 ppm. 

Recommendations Section

The potential to develop recommendations for land application of sewage biosolids relevant to the NE and addressed to farmers, farm advisors, regulators, local governments and others was discussed.

Participants agreed to each gather information on how their state/provincial rules and requirements are different from 503.  Harrison will send a request for information and will compile the replies.  The group will confer (likely by conference call) to consider developing recommendations. 

There were several items that the meeting participants tentatively agreed upon. (Nothing will be “final” until the further discussions are held.) :

1.  Recommendations:  Molybdenum, M. McBride and R. Stehouwer

Tentative Recommendations:

  1. Use CaCl2 extraction test for soil immediately after application if using on forage or pasture. Will need to use a lab having ICP and capable of measuring to 1 ppb. 
  2. If some threshold level is reached (what concentration?), then recommend farmers test the plant tissue.


  1. Cumulative loading of Mo is not relevant to plant uptake.
  2. The measurement of interest is available Mo in the soil.  0.15-0.2 mg/kg of CaCl2 extractable Mo in soils seems to put Cu:Mo ratio in forage ~2 ppm.
  3. pH is key to Mo availability.


Is direct ingestion by ruminants a concern?

R. Stehouwer had no formal recommendation to present, but as indicated in talk, the cumulative loading approach for regulating Mo is not really workable.  It would be better to go to some type of soil test, but we’re not at a point to recommend what that test could be.  If we were to go with CaCl2 extraction, what would be the threshold or guideline to use?  M. McBride noted the differences between his and R. Stehouwer’s recent Mo work; M. McBride looks at soils that have had applications in the past and Stehouwer looks at short-term situations.  M. McBride showed results from the University of Guelph long-term plots.  Sewage biosolids were last applied to an alfalfa plot in 1980 that has sat fallow since then.  CaCl2 extraction was used to determine the Cu/Mo ratio.  The line hits the Cu/Mo threshold of 2 at 0.04.  R. Stehouwer’s data shows this intersection at 0.015 and 0.02. 


E. Harrison commented that there is no federal standard for Mo and the government is talking about going with 40-ppm sewage biosolids concentration.  (B. Richards and R. Stehouwer noted there is a ceiling concentration number of 75 ppm.)  M. McBride said Guelph experiments never applied more than 10 kg Mo/ha.  He would disagree with the O’Connor paper which supports the 40 ppm concentration because for the 10-kg/ha loadings of Mo, you can find Cu/Mo ratios that are unacceptable in alfalfa 20 years after the fact.  M. McBride would argue that 2 years after application there would’ve been huge uptake, but there is no short-term data for these plots.  These are typically high lime soils.  When we take a plot with pH of 5 and lime, the Mo is immediately soluble.  Low pH soils are an ongoing management issue with soil scientists.  E. Harrison suggested trying to set a standard or guideline that wouldn’t require such pH management and would hopefully preclude serious problems.  M. McBride noted that large farms get detailed information for other subjects.  Why must we just give them a number for Mo?

B. Richards asked if, because there is only a ceiling limit in place, a single load of sewage biosolids could put you over the threshold?  M. McBride said yes.  A. Hay asked if there are sewage biosolids that are that contaminated?  M. McBride said the Cayuga Heights sewage biosolids is 40 to 50 ppm.  A. Hay asked if there was any guidance for extension agents? 

R. Stehouwer recommended not allowing the soil pH to go above 7 or 7.5.  This can be a concern when advanced alkaline stabilized sewage biosolids is spread.  C. Elliot commented that N-Viro is a particular problem if it is applied according to N because it contains very low nitrogen and very high alkalinity.  A. Hay said farmers are overusing N-Viro because the long-term neutralizing capacity isn’t there. 

E. Harrison said U. Krogmann sent a fax on Rutgers publications and recommendations.  Rutgers is echoing a Cornell publication that suggests a soil limit of 4 ppm, not including sandy soils.  She asked M. McBride if that was revised downward to 2 ppm.  M. McBride replied it’s hard to get to 4 in the soil because it’s leaching pretty fast.  E. Harrison asked if we should make a pH-based recommendation?  M. McBride still doesn’t like using total concentration.  C. Elliot said a good practice would be to use modified calcium carbonate equivalents.  Ellen suggested, “Be sure that if you’re applying a material that has lime added (through whatever process), apply thinking about pH ramifications.  If you’re applying as a lime source, take into consideration what you’re doing with nutrients.”  And somehow we need to take into account chemical reactions resulting from sewage biosolids additions that would change pH over time.


E. Harrison said M. McBride mentioned that there are analytical issues with using total Mo.  Interference with Fe and Al and the very small range found in soils is the problem. The EPA direction is toward total concentration though total Mo is not necessarily reflecting active Mo.  We should try to reach an understanding and collective recommendation.  C. Elliot pointed out R. Stehouwer and M. McBride indicated CaCl2 extraction was appropriate.  M. McBride explained the range of total Mo in soils is slight with 1 ppm being typical and reaching 4 would be exceptional.  R. Stehouwer pointed out the problem is that not very many labs have the ICP that can measure a low concentration.  C. Elliot agreed we need some qualifiers for when the test is recommended.  B. Richards said there are so many factors: a combination of soils, sewage biosolids, pH, liming history, crop, etc.  E. Harrison said in terms of Mo, Mo is only of concern in agricultural situations where there are ruminant animals.  E. Harrison said recommendations to farmers can be quite specific, but asked if we want to make a more specific recommendation regarding land use/agriculture for government regulations?  For example, land use conversion?  If land is used for ruminant livestock, how long after sewage biosolids application should we be concerned?  A. Hay asked if M McBride could come up with a half-life for Mo removal from greenhouse data?  M. McBride thinks it’s possible.  The leaching factor in O’Connor’s paper was discussed.  C. Elliot asked if CaCl2 extraction gives a snapshot?  R. Stehouwer said yes and it’s reflective of soil pH.  If the test is used every year or before application, the situation can be monitored.  A Hay recommends adding an acknowledgement that as you increase your pH you increase mobilization.  C. Elliot added that by requiring the test, you require one to think about the situation.  If 503 is revised, something should be added regarding being alert to the issue.  .


2.  Recommendations:  Organics.  A. Hay

Tentative Recommendations:

  1. require testing of sewage biosolids for chemicals
    1. for which there are soil screening levels established by EPA under Superfund
    2. chemicals for which there are drinking water standards
    3. priority pollutants
  2. EPA should conduct/support further research in order to fulfill their legislative mandate for a biennial review of sewage biosolids contaminants and should cooperate with USGS
  3. attention is needed regarding up-to-date methods, quality control and suitable detection limits

A. Hay recommends funding more research.  What are the target organisms?  We have some evidence that there are reduced earthworm counts.  We have PCBs and dioxins in plots.  But toxicity to earthworms doesn’t coordinate with presence of organics.  The ability to regulate contaminants in soil versus water was discussed.  D. Bowman said enforcement is basically water.  You need to find out about leaching. 

E. Harrison pointed out NYS requires the testing of land applied sewage biosolids for priority pollutants.  Is that the recommendation we want to make to require monitoring?  A. Hay recommended a risk-based approach i.e. the direct ingestion of sewage biosolids.  If we start with an effect, we can target a group of chemicals.  E. Harrison commented on a current project involving 350 chemicals in sewage biosolids and the use of SSLs [soil screening levels].  A. Hay said we need to look at pathway and use chemicals for which SSL are already set.  E. Harrison said SSLs are strictly human health based and only industrial pollutants.  A. Hay said we have no good toxicological information to warrant other chemicals being included.  E. Harrison asked if we should also look at and suggest testing for contaminants regulated in drinking water?  The problem is that compounds that are water-soluble are not concentrated in sewage biosolids.  How do we get a handle on the list of chemicals that we should monitor?  Do we include those that have SSLs and those for which there are drinking water standards, as well as priority pollutants?  A. Hay brought up the problem of quality and databases.  We can suggest that entities are charged with monitoring, but quality of data cannot be confirmed.  The Superfund Target Compound list was discussed.  J. Peckenham noted that sewage biosolids in Maine is initially screened for dioxins and possibly priority pollutants.  It can be exempted after the initial screening.  C. Elliot said PCBs are required in PA.  Ellen recommended compiling a list of what the various states are currently doing. 


3.  Recommendations:  Nutrients.  C. Elliot and R. Stehouwer. 

Tentative Recommendations:

  1. Test sewage biosolids more frequently for nitrogen, especially ammonium
  2. When used on corn, apply only 80% of N needs, then do PSNT
  3. Use water extractable P test
  4. On livestock farms, be careful not to apply excess nutrients
  5. Consider the nutrient values of advance alkaline stabilized sewage biosolids products, but apply according to pH adjustment

C. Elliot recommended more frequent nitrogen analysis.  R. Stehouwer said when calculating N loading rates there’s a very large potential error associated with ammonium.  Even though it is small amount of total N, can account for large of amount of error.  If you want to tighten up on N loading, more frequent analysis of N and ammonium would help.  An inexpensive improvement would be to use an ammonium electrode.  Stockpiling and the loss of ammonium were discussed.  For corn, R. Stehouwer recommended cutting back on loading of N and relying on presidedress nitrate test (PSNT) in the spring.  D. Bowman commented on the farm insurance program set up by the USDA to reduce excess N and P application.  R. Stehouwer said many small treatment plants in PA are doing annual analysis.  Link this testing to when the sewage biosolids are moved to the farm and spread i.e. if the plant has been storing sewage biosolids all winter don’t run the analysis until it is moved.  D. Bowman commented on a Madison, WI program that does all testing of sewage biosolids when it is picked up by the truck.  The trucks have GIS and maps are made of the land, loads, etc. 

Ellen asked for recommendations regarding P?  E. Harrison asked if water-extractable instead of total P should be tested?  C. Elliot said yes, WI is already doing this. But it won’t make a difference if there is no source coefficient in a state’s P index.  The solubility of P in bio sewage biosolids solids varies widely.  He added that there is no compelling reason that dairy farms should use sewage biosolids. 


4.  Recommendations:  Metals.  M. McBride.

Tentative Recommendations:

  1. Consider limits on organotins, silver – at least do testing as a start
  2. do periodic soil tests – both CaCl2 extractable and total
  3. stop application if soil concentrations in the 1985 Guideline document are exceeded


.McBride said the original EPA list of metals in sewage biosolids was 10.  At this point, a number of these (nickel, arsenic, chromium, selenium) are not major issues.  Lead, mercury, and cadmium have been reduced over time due to pretreatment and industry moving out of the US.  Sewage biosolids generally have low cadmium levels down near 1 ppm.  Copper and zinc are phytotoxic and we should come up with some kind of number.  He doesn’t agree with the EPA limits because the phytotoxicity threshold is so soil dependent.  Tin should be looked at.  According to a thesis done in Guelph, every reasonably large city on the Great Lakes has high tin in their sewage biosolids.  The implication is that it’s used on ships.  A. Hay commented that alkyl tins have been banned but they are still allowed for some ocean going ships.  We would like to see more data including tin numbers for landlocked cities.  Perhaps recommend that port cities address this.  The issue for agriculture is that organo-tin, a small fraction of total tin, accumulates like methyl-mercury.  E. Harrison said there are 4 to 5 studies finding organo-tin as high as 10 ppm and usually between 1 and 4 ppm.  What is the risk context?  M. McBride said this is high.  Some of the coastal city sewage biosolids are 100s of ppm of total tin.  E. Harrison asked if silver was a concern.  M. McBride said it’s there and it’s fairly high.  Platinum group metals, found in storm water from roads/catalytic converters, were discussed. M. McBride doesn’t think they are a phytotoxicity concern or an environmental concern because they are inert and in a zero oxidation state.  Thalium shows up less frequently but where it does show up, it’s high.  M. McBride doesn’t know where this is coming from or why it stays in the sewage biosolids.  L. Osher referred back to the metals that are decreasing and asked about the phytotoxicity of cadmium.  Maine averages 3.5-ppm total cadmium in sewage biosolids.  M. McBride said there is no phytotoxicity effect. 

Re phyto toxic metals, C. Elliot and M. McBride were part of a group that came up with Guidelines in 1985 which were far lower than the levels EPA came up with for the 503.  Do the recommendations from 1985 still hold or is there additional knowledge that would change conclusions?  M. McBride said he still defends the copper and zinc limits.  The nickel recommendation may be more cautious than it needs to be.  C. Elliot said if you’re talking about corn and some other field crops and the pH is controlled, the 503 numbers are okay.  But doesn’t cover the range i.e., sensitive crops on coarse textured soils.  R. Stehouwer said that in most cases in a well-managed agricultural field, you’re probably okay.  If that’s going to be converted to vegetable crops, levels are probably high.  Plants with varying root depths are affected differently.  Greenhouse and metal salt addition studies were discussed.  M. McBride said the EPA says not to use greenhouse studies because roots are forced to take nutrients from contaminated soil and root avoidance can’t be seen.  The 1985 guidelines used salt studies.  McBride suggested that after ~5 years, salt study results would be valid. 

Cornell Field Crop Guidelines give recommended soil concentration limits that echo the 1985 guidelines.  U. Krogmann indicated that NJ is similar.  C. Elliot recommended a blanket cautionary comment about vegetable crops, though recognize that with 503 application limits, it will take awhile to get up to excessive cumulative applications.  Could we suggest soil-based limits for elements are dependent on crop type?  A. Hay asked if we could go to CaCl2 extractable and do away with soil types?  M. McBride said this is possible with enough data, which we don’t have.  This could not be done with copper because phytotoxicity depends on activity.  R. Stehouwer said it’s going to take a long time for farmers in PA to reach the limit for Cu, 60 to 100 ppm depending on soil type, with sewage biosolids.  M. McBride said we have some dairy and chicken farmers that are exceeding 130-200 ppm limits for zinc.  R. Stehouwer recommended periodic soil testing and if levels get too high, do some tissue tests.  B. Richards recommended both CaCl2 extraction (a current snapshot) and total (what could happen if the pH changes).  E. Harrison suggested if you reach levels that are in the 1985 publication, you should stop applying sewage biosolids. 


5.  Recommendations: Water Related Issues.  B. Richards. 

Tentative Recommendations:

  1. Consider variable source area hydrology in restricting application on runoff-prone areas.  Slope is not a good criteria.
  2. consider integration of sewage biosolids /manure/fertilizer requirements


B. Richards said the primary concerns with surface water are the presence of pathogens and/or nutrients.  He discussed the idea of variable source area hydrology and preferential flow (  Runoff is generated in predictable wet spots.  The management recommendation is to avoid spreading on these areas when runoff is likely to occur, typically the spring.  Hortonian thinking was don’t spread on slopes.  Now we have a different set of recommendations.  Slopes may be the best places to spread. 

There are issues with stockpiling in areas with shallow groundwater.  A study done last year with very low cumulative loadings showed water quality effects.  We can detect signals, though they are extremely difficult to see.  J. Peckenham added that preferential flow is very important with chelated metals that move very early.  There are issues with seasonal high water tables that usually occur when the material is being spread.  We’re not sure how much surface water is communicating with groundwater.  When we see heavy loading, we see biomass growth.  As the vertical flow space is plugged by biomass, we see horizontal flow.  L. Osher said we’re talking about transport issues.  The criterion of slope doesn’t really fit.  More research is necessary on a regional scale or state level.  If you’re going to develop an index, these transport processes need to be looked at.  J. Peckenham said the dimension of scale has not be addressed i.e. field vs. pile vs. watershed.  What’s the right scale to manage this at?  How do you manage at a scale larger than the field?  .

Elliot said setback issues need to be addressed.  Regulations only say 10 meters.  They don’t say what you do in these 10 meters.  The idea is you leave the setback distance in a natural vegetative state and don’t farm right up to the water.  L. Osher recommends having the regulations for both sewage biosolids and fertilizers correlate.  Brian said it makes sense to integrate sewage biosolids nutrient management with manure management.  C. B. Richards would like to say something related to groundwater but is uncertain how to frame it.  D. Bowman does not have current data on the potential for viruses to move through groundwater. 

6.  Recommendations:  Management Issues.  E. Harrison.

Tentative Recommendations:

  1. Apply sewage biosolids according to a nutrient management plan

Action:  Each participating state/province will provide information on required management practices in their locale.  E. Harrison will compile these to serve as the basis for a group discussion (conference call).

Federal regulations require a 10-meter setback from watercourses.  State regulations were discussed.  Maine has restrictions relative to aquifers.  Pennsylvania has setbacks from homes, wells, groundwater, depth to bedrock, watercourses, and sinkholes.  Group agreed to compile a list of setback regulations and recommendations already in place in our states.  Application practices were discussed.  In NY, incorporation is required under the regulations, but pasture application is allowed with a variance.  What about no-till?  Points to consider regarding incorporation include odor control, reduction of potential runoff, reduction of potential blowing, vector attraction reduction, increased viability of pathogens, decreased volatilization and photodegradation and increased ingestion by grazing animals or through adherence of sewage biosolids to crops. 

Elliot said if you get a permit to spread sewage biosolids in PA, you must have and implement a conservation plan that includes not only soil and erosion but also nutrients.  L. Osher said that Maine requires a farm nutrient management plan for any farm over 25 cows.  Soil scientists are required to do maps before major land use.  The group seemed to favor a recommendation that application be done pursuant to a conservation (or perhaps nutrient management) plan.


The future of the Multistate Project.

Based on the discussion summarized below, the group decided that we will not develop a proposal for renewal as a multi-state research committee, but will seek to become a coordinating committee.  The topic the committee would address is “the use of soil as a waste disposal medium,” enabling us to address a broad range of residuals and land uses.  We would continue to focus on the north east.


The difference between a coordinating committee and a multistate research committee was defined.  To be a multistate research committee, you must write a proposal that gets approved by the USDA without direct funding.  You then have reporting requirements.  A coordinating committee does not go through these hoops, but would meet annually.  C. Elliot and R. Stehouwer participate in the W-170 group that has a similar project.  They are a year ahead of us in the renewal process.  Following discussion about a possible unification of the groups, it was determined that W-170 would proceed and NE-1001 members are free to join.  E. Harrison suggested we move to be a coordinating committee, as the framework of a proposal isn’t that helpful.  M. Pfeffer said that the NE experiment station directors are scrutinizing proposals more and more, especially for multistate research projects.  There is a critical eye toward continuation projects.  Thus being an existing project could be a handicap.  The bar is lower for a coordinating committee.  Most experiment stations would encourage conversation and collaboration.  R. Stehouwer agrees that a coordinating committee makes sense.  C. Elliot argued for the coordinating committee due to the potential duplication of objectives with W-170 which would also make USDA approval less likely.  L. Osher said that in certain states it’s essential to be a multistate to get money from colleges.  In Maine, a certain number from the college need to be on a multi-state.  She also finds the multi-state helpful to coordinate research methods and likes the proposal as something that pulls all the work together.  E. Harrison is unwilling to write a proposal but will coordinate the committee.  Objectives and outcomes were discussed.  M. Pfeffer said success must be decided individually as scientists.  Bridging to the future and showing productivity (peer reviewed publications and extension publications) are important.  These issues are important for the coordinating committee as well.  USDA and the experiment station directors want to know groups are producing useful results.  Determine your financial, environmental, and economic impacts and your end-users.  In writing up our final report for this project, it was agreed that we do not need to worry greatly about whether project objectives were met, but rather that the current project objectives provide a framework for discussion of what we’ve done and the benefits of being a regional group.  In re the Coordinating Committee, the group agreed that we address the use of residuals and not just sewage biosolids.  Is wastewater included i.e. irrigation of golf courses?  Or simply residuals applied to land in the northeast?  C. Elliot suggested “the use of soil as a waste disposal medium” and the inclusion of many materials that haven’t received the scrutiny that sewage biosolids has such as food-processing residuals and manure.  (Note:  perhaps Ivan Fernandez of the U of Maine would be interested.) 


Next Meeting

The next meeting was discussed.  The end of June worked better than July.  L. Osher has a biannual meeting that is usually the week of June 20th. 


Topic Section 3:  Water Quality and Other Topics


Water Quality Impacts of Sewage Biosolids as Landscape Amendments”

Presenter:  L. Osher, University of Maine, Orono


Sewage biosolids are used to construct architect’s topography and provide planting beds for vegetation, commonly on resorts and private estates.  Sewage biosolids are inexpensive (compared to “topsoil”) and used in conjunction with irrigation systems.  In Mount Desert Island, Maine, soils are shallow to bedrock, glacial till, coarse textured, and close to lakes, the bay and the gulf.  A column study design was used.  Treatments were 6 inches of topsoil over 3 inches of sand, 6 inches of sewage biosolids over 3 inches of sand, and 6 inches of 1:1 sewage biosolids:sand over 3 inches of sand, and control.  Landscapers are supposed to use “mixed” sewage biosolids and sand.  Leachate was sampled for metals, NO3-, and NH4+.  Soils were analyzed at the end of experiment for metals, NO3-, NH4+, and soil fauna. Ten times the amount of ammonium-N was found in the leachate from biosolid:sand mix versus other treatments.  Nitrate-N was also highest in the leachate from the sewage biosolids:sand mix.  Algal growth was observed in the columns.  (Note:  Columns were not wrapped and light entered into the sides of the columns.)  The greatest growth was found in sewage biosolids:sand mix treatment possibly indicating more oxygen and better aeration in the system.  High levels of barium were observed in treatments but not the control, possibly from medicinal use.  Cadmium concentrations in the sewage biosolids:sand almost reached 0.0004 mg/L.  The EPA drinking water standard is 0.0005 mg/L.  The control had the highest concentrations of arsenic. 


Conclusions:  Biosolid additions to soils result in increased nitrate and ammonium leaching after application.  In general, NO3- leaching was much higher than NH4+ indicating a well-aerated environment.  Trace element leaching is higher under biosolid treatments than under natural soils or topsoil additions.  Greatest losses of nitrate and ammonium and trace elements are from mixed treatments.  All trace elements concentrations are below EPA drinking water standards


Discussion:  B. Richards asked if pH profiles were looked at in terms of leachate.  L. Osher said no.  M. McBride asked if silicate sand or carbonate sand was used because carbonate sand could explain the barium.  L. Osher guessed that it was more silica due to glacial till soils and glacial outwash.  B. Richards said the packed columns lead to conservative estimates of leachate and that actual leachate would be much greater in the field.  E. Harrison asked about the levels of compounds in the sewage biosolids.  Laurie said it’s so variable.  Plants present data every year but receive sewage biosolids from many different areas.  The compost gets tested every month.  B. Richards asked when loadings of this magnitude were started.  L. Osher replied it has been the practice for at least a decade.  Unity (the compost supplier) doesn’t have a client list, but all of the landscaping contractors she’s spoke to use this material.  J. Peckenham added that mine reclamation uses up to 1 meter of sewage biosolids and everything you don’t want in the groundwater is showing up mobilized.  B. Richards said that after 6 to 8 years, some phytotoxicity due to metals is showing up in greenhouse studies (eternal summer).  He would suspect that the rate of plants dying would start to pick up.


“Synthetic Fibers as an Indicator of Land Application of Sewage Biosolids”

Presenter:  Kimberly Ann V. Zubris, Cornell University

(See PowerPoint presentation)


Synthetic fibers are easily detected in sewage biosolids effluent using polarized light microscopy.  Fibers must be present in sewage biosolids products that have been processed in several different ways and applied to land.  Fibers in dewatered digested sewage biosolids were long and obvious.  Fibers from pelletized sewage biosolids were imbedded in sewage biosolids materials.  Fibers in N-Viro sewage biosolids were small and brittle due to the high pH.  Fibers in composted sewage biosolids were stuck in big particles and not as easy to find them because of extraction difficulties with wood chips.  Greenhouse studies showed no fibers in the control and fibers in the sewage biosolids-applied soils.  Old-site studies also showed no fibers in the control and fibers in the site-soils.  B. Richards said application was about 200 tones at the old-site.  Future work includes studying archived soils and determining quantitative methods.  Studying sites with lighter loading and variations in loading on one site (Bath farm and Olera plots) was recommended. 


“Considerations for Dairy Farms Regarding the Use of Sewage Sludges, Sludge Products, and Septage” 

Presenter:  E. Harrison, Cornell University

(See handout, report)

(Note:  Slide 4, typical level of sewage biosolids should read 7000-12000)


In NYS the largest users of sewage biosolids are dairy farms.  A document was written to help farmers and advisors make informed decisions regarding the use of sewage biosolids and to minimize risks associated with sewage biosolids application. 

Discussion:  Why farmers are using sewage biosolids at all was discussed.  Certainly money figures in as some farms get paid to take the material.  Cash crop farmers generally don’t want to take it because they don’t have the equipment to begin with.  Dairy farmers are used to dealing with manure and get some sort of compensation, even though they aren’t told about the drawbacks.  Additionally, N-Viro is a source of lime for $4/ton applied.  Typically, lime is $25/ton applied. 


“Sewage Biosolids in Maine:  A White Paper”

Presenter:  J. Peckenham

(See PowerPoint presentation, handouts of stockpile study)


The University was asked to provide neutral input to a public debate on sewage biosolids, make research accessible, and demonstrate the validity of regulations.  The report will establish a baseline for debate, characterize sewage biosolids in Maine, analyze regulations pertaining to protection of the environment and protection of public health, summarize concerns, and summarize current research.  The paper should be published in October of 2004.  The final paper will be distributed under the Senator George J. Mitchell Center for Environmental and Watershed Research logo.  Financial support is from treatment plants, the state planning office, and foundations.  The institute will write what they want, a review team will make sure it’s balance, and any strong differences of opinion will be added to the appendix.  Overtime, the land applying of Class B sewage biosolids has decreased, production of Class A sewage biosolids distributed in or out of Maine is increasing, and disposal to landfills is increasing.  Currently 60% of Class A material is going to Massachusetts. 


A leachate study was conducted.  Lined cells were built with an underdrain and side gutters to look at shed precipitation and leachate.  No shedding was observed.  After two weeks, leachate flow was generated and was fairly constant.  Extremely high ammonium loads were observed.  High metal-chelating DOC loads were seen.  Biological growth was observed.  Pathways become filled with biomass and clog macropores, resulting in lateral movement. 


“Parasites in sewage biosolids – detection and destruction” 

Presenter:  D. Bowman

(See PowerPoint presentation)


Pathogens of concern include viruses (those not encapsulated), bacteria (those that survive well or form spores), protozoa (mainly in effluent stream), and helminthes (mainly in solids stream).  Class B sewage biosolids contain the eggs of helminthes, probably Ascaris lumbricoides.  Class A sewage biosolids must be tested to verify that Ascaris lumbricoides eggs, salmonella, and the poliovirus are destroyed.  The process is tested, not the specific compost.  Routine chlorination does not routinely kill Giardia and Cryptosporidium that are not degraded by the aeration treatment of the water.  Most protozoa are found in large numbers.  Giardia/mouse (plant pilot) studies show UV treatment of treated effluent will provide > 3 log reductions in viable cysts, chlorine dioxide treatment of the effluent will provide > 3 log reductions, and municipality now looking at combination treatments to push the value to 4 logs of reduction.  Ascaris/UV work was done because of concern that foodstuff will be contaminated with human pathogens.  Ascaris is more difficult to kill than other pathogens and can be used as a “worse case scenario” organism to test processes. Research shows tanned Ascaris eggs with an outer coat, the stage passed in feces, are much more difficult to kill with UV than either Cryptosporidium or MS2 phage.  Curves have been generated that can be used to assess parameters needed for food safety.  Future sewage biosolids work includes examining the use of Sentinel Chambers for determining the production of Class A material, examining the possibility of using ATAD-Class A sewage biosolids as a base for green mulch seeding material, and examining surrogates for ability to replace Ascaris eggs in proving processes are Class A in full-scale systems. 


Updates Section:


USDA Funding

M. Morant.   See handout on funding opportunities.

In August the 2004-2005 programs will be coming out.  It would be useful for the NE group to meet with USDA NRI staff to let them know our view of the important research issues to try to influence how the funding is distributed and what the RFPs address.  Impacts and money saved are important considerations for USDA.


Investigation of Health Complaints and Aerosols

E. Harrison.  WERF has decided to fund research into “rapid response” to the reports of illness as associated with land application.  It will involve “affected stakeholders” i.e. people who are reporting illness and scientists who have been more cautionary as well as industry and municipal generators. 


E. Harrison.  EPA ORD out of Cincinnati is going to be doing a field-based study in NC in Sept involving aerosols.  Pat Milner at USDA is involved in aerosol work.


Roundup and metal leaching

M. McBride.  Current research will look at ability of Roundup to mobilize copper in soil.  Roundup is a chelator and drags copper into solution.  Farms are spraying 2-3 times the recommended amount due to resistance.  Home use has an even higher application rate.  


Canadian metals in the environment

M. McBride.  Canada has a 5-year project “Metals in the Environment” studying cadmium, zinc, lead etc that has finished work on the Canadian shield (soils typical of Maine and north of here).  New objectives for a renewal project will be related to human health and metals. Project will be moving south and looking where people live.  Funded project would receive 5 year of funding and sewage biosolids will appear in proposal. 


Maine Sewage Biosolids projects

Sewage Biosolids Projects

Senator George J. Mitchell Center

for Environmental and Watershed Research

at the University of Maine



Stockpiles and Nitrogen Leaching (Maine DEP)

·        Lined cells and lysimeter plot

·        Quantify nitrogen loss in field

·        Quantify nitrogen species

·        Complete, publications in progress


Metal Leaching and Transport from Sewage Biosolids (USGS)

·        Companion study to stockpile nitrogen

·        Lysimeters and shallow piezometers

·        Facilitated metal transport (early and fast)

·        Field work completion 2004, publications in progress


Metal Leaching and Transport from Sewage Biosolids in Soils (USGS)

·        Column studies

·        Characterize partitioning

·        Characterize DOM

·        Lab work in progress, publications in 2005


Metal Mobilization from Land Reclamation Using Sewage Biosolids (in Prep)

·        Significant metal mobilization beneath reclaimed gravel pits

·        Lysimeters and shallow piezometers

·        Elevated DOC loading

·        Full proposal in preparation


Organic Wastes and Drinking Water Quality (pending USDA)

·        Watershed scale loading of DOM to surface water

·        Disinfection By-Product Formation Potential

·        Assess impact to groundwater

·        Proposal in review


Handouts (copies are available from the Cornell Waste Management Institute)

Brandt, R. C., H. A. Elliott, and G. A. O’Connor. 2004.  Water-Extractable Phosphorus in Biosolids:  Implications for Land-Based Recycling.  Water Environment Research.  76(2): 121-129.

Elliott, H. A., R. C. Brandt, and G. A. O’Connor.  “Rational Phosphorus Management in Organic Residuals Recycling on Agricultural Land” PowerPoint presentation for NE-1001 2004 meeting. 

Harrison, E.  “Management Considerations Regarding Use of Sewage Sludges and Sludge Products.”  PowerPoint presentation for NE-1001 2004 meeting.

Harrison, E, L. Telega, M. McBride, S. Bossard, L. Chase, D. Bouldin, and K. Czymmek.

“Considerations for Dairy Farms Regarding Use of Sewage Sludges, Sludge Products, and Septage.”  PowerPoint presentation for NE-1001 2004 meeting. 

Harrison, E, L. Telega, M. McBride, S. Bossard, L. Chase, D. Bouldin, and K. Czymmek.  2003  Considerations for Dairy Farms Regarding Use of Sewage Sludges, Sludge Products, and Septage.”  Cornell Waste Management Institute publication.   

McBride, Murray and B. Richards.  “Testing soils for trace metals from land-applied wastes.”  Working paper for NE 1001.” 

M. Morant.  “CSREES Update” Handout for NE-1001 2004 meeting.

Peckenham, J.  Maine Stockpile Study.”  2003.  Handout for NE-1001 2004 meeting.

Qureshi, Shabnam, B. Richards, A. G. Hay, C. C. Tsai, M. B. McBride, P. Baveye, and T. S. Steenhuis.  2003.  Effect of Microbial Activity on Trace Element Release from Sewage Sludge.  Environmental Science and Technology.  37:3361-3366.

Qureshi, Shabnam, B. Richards, M. B. McBride, P. Baveye, and T. S. Steenhuis.  2003.  Temperature and Microbial Activity Effects on Trace Element Leaching from Metalliferous Peats.  Journal of Environmental Quality.  32:2067-2075.

Qureshi, Shabnam, B. Richards, T. S. Steenhuis, M. B. McBride, P. Baveye, and S. Dousset.  2004.  Microbial acidification and pH effects on trace element release from sewage sludge.  Environmental Pollution. 

Richards, Brian, B. M. Schulte, A. Heilig, T. S. Steenhuis, M. McBride, and E. Harrison.  Environmental impacts of applying manure, fertilizer, and sewage biosolids on a dairy farm.  Journal of the American Water Resources Association.  V. 40 p. 1025-1042.

Stehouwer, R.  “Cu accumulation in soil from use of CuSO4 hoof baths” PowerPoint presentation for NE-1001 2004 meeting. 

Stehouwer, R and M. McBride.  “Use of hot 0.01 M CaCl2 extractant to determine Mo availability and uptake by crops” PowerPoint presentation for NE-1001 2004 meeting.