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Project ID: 2004AZ51B

Title: Measurement of estrogenic activity in sludges and biosolids

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Water Quality, Methods, Toxic Substances

Keywords: estrogenic activity, sludge, biosolids

Start Date: 03/01/2004

End Date: 02/28/2005

Federal Funds: $12,305

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $24,403

Congressional District: 5

Principal Investigators:
Quanrud, David
University of Arizona

Wendell Ela

Robert Arnold

Jon D. Chorover
University of Arizona


In Arizona, 95 percent of biosolids produced during wastewater treatment are applied to agricultural land as a soil amendment. Some 150,000 dry tons of class B biosolids are applied to over 50,000 Arizona acres of land. Among the issues of concern associated with land application is the long-term fate of biosolid-associated residual organic contaminants exhibiting estrogenic activity. For example, there has been no effort to examine whether estrogenically active compounds in land-applied biosolids can be remobilized during irrigation with possible negative effects for groundwater quality. The hydrophobic nature of compounds that are primarily responsible for estrogenic activity in wastewater and wastewater effluent suggests that they will accumulate in organic-rich solids. We will develop and apply methods for extracting estrogenic contaminants from biosolids or soils. Proposed work will provide the following data and information.
(i) Procedures for recovery of sorbed hydrophobic estrogenic compounds on soil or biosolids.
(ii) Total estrogenic activity in solids derived from wastewater treatment and changes in estrogenic activity during anaerobic digestion, dewatering and composting.
The study offers baseline information regarding the presence of estrogenic compounds in biosolids. Project results will provide utilities and government agencies with a basis for rational decisions relative to the need for and design of follow-on investigations in this area of inquiry. It is emphasized that proposed work represents only a first step toward understanding the fate of EDCs in biosolids once they are reintroduced into the environment.

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Tuesday July 12, 2005 2:35 PM
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