Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Bioaerosol and Voc Emissions Measurements Associated with Land Application of Biosolids

Authors
item Millner, Patricia
item McConnell, Laura
item Harper, Lowry
item Walker, J - US EPA
item Giani, R - BUREAU OF WATER SUPPLY...

Submitted to: Sustainable Land Application Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: January 4, 2004
Publication Date: January 8, 2004
Citation: Millner, P.D., Mcconnell, L.L., Harper, L.A., Walker, J., Giani, R. 2004. Bioaerosol and VOC emissions measurements associated with land application of biosolids. Sustainable Land Application Conference. p. 44.

Interpretive Summary: Only required for refereed journal articles (however Dr. Reeves requests for all publications/presentations). Air quality at and around biosolids (treated human sewage sludge)land applications are of particular concern to citizens and communities because of odors as well as potential irritants and biological aerosols. Cooperating scientists at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center, Beltsville, MD, the J. Phil Campbell, Sr., Natural Resources Research Center, Watkinsville, MD, the USEPA, Washington, DC, and the Bureau of Water Supply and Wastewater Management, Harrisburg, PA, measured concentrations of selected airborne microbes, particulates, and certain volatile compounds in air samples collected during land application of these biosolids. Two microbial air sampling devices were used, along with a personal inhalable dust sampler, to collect particulates. For biosolids limed to pH 12.5, pathogenic bacteria were undetectable in the solids as well as in the aerosols. Trace numbers of the bacterial pathogen Staphyloccocus aureus were recovered from a single background air sample and from a single limed biosolids sample indicating the possible sporadic occurrence of this microbe, although the sample may have been a contamination by personnel bringing in the microbes. The samples contained some viable bacteria. Concentrations of ammonia and other volatile compounds present in the air before and after applications along with some preliminary data about the odor and irritation response will be presented. These data will provide information regarding the effects of application of biosolids to agricultural production systems and will be used for decision-making by other scientists, designers, managers, and regulators. This research will help assure the general population that decisions for biosolids disposal have been made on sound, scientifically-based information.

Technical Abstract: Certain aspects of air quality at and around biosolids land applications are of particular concern to citizens and communities. Odors as well as potential irritants and bioaerosols (including particulates, endotoxin, and pathogenic agents) associated with Class B biosolids are among the expressed concerns. Concentrations of selected airborne microbes, particulates, and certain volatile compounds were measured in air samples collected during land application of cake forms of Class B biosolids. The interaction between ammonia, Staphylococcus aureus, and infection has been expressed as a concern so some tests included specific examination for this organism as well. Two microbial air sampling devices were used: the SKC mini-impinger and the Spin-Con. A personal inhalable dust sampler (SKC Button sampler) was used to collect particulates <10 µm for gravimetric and endotoxin analyses. The utility of a variety of portable real-time instruments was assessed with ambient air as well as with flux chamber samples. For biosolids limed to pH 12.5, pathogenic bacteria were undetectable in the solids as well as the aerosols. Trace numbers of Staphyloccocus aureus were recovered from a single background air sample and from a single limed biosolids sample indicating the possible sporadic occurrence of this microbe. Saprophytic, heterotrophic bacteria were detectable in all samples, thus indicating that the samples contained some viable bacteria. Concentrations of ammonia and other volatile compounds present in the air before and after applications along with some preliminary data about the odor and irritation response will be presented.

Last Modified: 9/2/2014
Footer Content Back to Top of Page