Tuesday, 8 September 2020

Issues related to the "land application" of sewage sludge (biosolids)


Recent worrying science around the "land application" of sewage sludge (biosolids)

Microplastics In Farm Soils Have Adverse Effects On Wheat Crops

"Microplastics in soils have recently been linked to increased cadmium uptake and root damage in wheat plants ... microplastics were able to damage the roots of the wheat plants by clogging soil pores and preventing water uptake"

("The highest source of microplastic input into the soil is the direct application of sewage sludge for agricultural fertilization")


UK Government - State of the Environment -

"changes to the composition of waste, have led to new challenges in preventing soil contamination from spreading of treated sewage ... Chemicals enter the wider environment through pathways including spreading of manures and sewage sludge to soils"

( https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/state-of-the-environment/state-of-the-environment-health-people-and-the-environment#fn:33 )

Inhibitory effect of microplastics on soil 

"Microplastics (MPs), as a new type of environmental pollutant, pose a serious threat to soil ecosystems ... MPs competed with soil microorganisms for physicochemical niches to reduce microbial activity and eventually, extracellular enzyme activity"


Microplastics negatively affect soil fauna

Spreading biosolids MEANS spreading microplastics. "the effects of microplastics strongly cascade through the soil food webs, leading to the modification of microbial functioning with further potential consequences on soil carbon and nutrient cycling"


Impact of biochar on plant growth and uptake of ciprofloxacin, triclocarban and triclosan from biosolids

"Application of municipal biosolids in agriculture present a concern with potential uptake and bioaccumulation of pharmaceutical compounds from biosolids into agronomic plants."


Microplastics in farm soils: A growing concern

"Microplastics arrive on farms through processed sewage sludge used for fertilizer ... alarming potential impacts of this contamination on all aspects of agricultural systems from soil quality to human health"

The Soil, Sand, and Sea: The Journey of Microplastics

"While the sludge from wastewater treatment captures around 90% of the microplastics in sewage ... Sludge farming adds more microplastics to our land annual than the amount of microplastic enters the ocean every year"

Screening for 32 per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS)  Evaluation of potential accumulation in vegetables after application of biosolids

"Concerning the application of sludge in agriculture ... revealed that PFAS can cause serious contamination of cereals and vegetables (oat, celery shoots and lettuce leaves), as well as general secondary contamination of the environment"

Microplastics in Sewage Sludge -
Dr. Scott Coffin - "over time our agricultural soils may become toxic with the addition of these biosolids" Microplastics in Sludge -starts around the 34 minute mark.

Microplastics removal in wastewater treatment plants: a critical review

"The majority of plastics removed during sewage treatment are retained in sewage sludge ... Large numbers of plastic particles enter the terrestrial environment where sludge is reused for agriculture"


Comparative Life Cycle Assessment of Sewage Sludge (Biosolid) Management Options

"The most comprehensive sludge management studies have shown that land application is an important contribution to global warming, eutrophication, and acidification."

Antibiotic Resistance in Soil

"Soil serves as an important environmental reservoir for ARB and ARGs derived from water sources, aerosols, and sewage sludge ...ARGs in soil may also be transferred to other environments, such as groundwater and the phytosphere." https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/698_2020_562

Uptake and accumulation of per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances in plants

"The potential sources of PFASs for plant uptake include land application of biosolids ... Root uptake is the predominant pathway for the accumulation of PFASs in agricultural crops"


Evidence of microplastic accumulation in agricultural soils from sewage sludge disposal

"Sludge is proposed as a primal driver of soil microplastic pollution, if plastics are remobilized from soil to water bodies, the main aim of water treatment plants to prevent water contamination could be compromised by current sludge disposal methods" https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S004896971931366X?via%3Dihub

Microplastics in soils: a review of possible sources, analytical methods and ecological impacts

(Spreading "biosolids" MEANS spreading microplastics - much more than just putting plastic in soils)

 “after plastics enter the soil environment, they release toxic plastic additives, which threaten ecosystems & impact long‐term soil quality"

Organic fertilizer as a vehicle for the entry of microplastic into the environment

"sewage sludge is in the public opinion increasingly seen as problematic waste inappropriate for redistribution into the environment, probably not least because of the contamination with heavy metals, residual pharmaceuticals, and also artificial fibers" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5884690/

Microplastics in soils: a review of possible sources, analytical methods and ecological impacts

"Sewage sludge discharged into agricultural soils is estimated to be one of the largest sources of MPs entering the environment. Applying sewage sludge as a fertilizer to the soil leads to pollution by synthetic fibers, which are mobile and persistent" https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1002/jctb.6334

Source, occurrence, migration and potential environmental risk of microplastics in sewage sludge and during sludge amendment to soil

"the adsorption by Microplastics of heavy metals, organic pollutants, antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes cannot be ignored as sewage sludge generally contains substantial concentrations of these pollutants. " https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0048969720338778?via%3Dihub

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