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Title: Assessing the potential for greenhouse gas emissions from sewage sludge amended soil

item McCarty, Gregory

Submitted to: American Society of Agronomy Meetings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/4/2007
Publication Date: 11/6/2007
Citation: Stuczynski, T., McCarty, G.W. 2007. Assessing the potential for greenhouse gas emissions for sewage sludge amended soils [abstract]. 2007 International Annual Meetings of the American Society of Agronomy. 2007 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Land application of municipal biosolids is the primary means of their disposal. In recent decades environmental concerns related to land application have focused mainly on risk for soil contamination with heavy metals and organic pollutants as well as on pathogen control. Studies on nutrient leaching have also been common. There is almost no data on potential risk for greenhouse gasses emissions from soils amended with high rates of biosolids. To fill this gap, an incubation experiment was conducted with over 40 sludges of diverse properties such as OM content and quality, C:N ratios. Biosoilds under study represented different treatment and stabilization processes. Cumulative emissions of N2O and CO2 from a Baltimore soil amended with 10% of biosolids (D.W. basis) were measured during 5 weeks of incubation. The results showed dramatic differences between sludges in their ability to release greenhouse gases which can be as high as an order of magnitude, particularly those for N20. There is no clear explanation of mechanisms controlling these differences as biosolids of similar properties may represent entirely different emission behavior. In the light of our study it is evident that land application of biosolids may be an important source of gaseous emissions and proper waste management should address this new aspect of their quality.