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Project ID: 2004NJ75B

Title: Fate of Brominated Flame Retardants in New Jersey Wastewater Treatment Facilities

Project Type: Research

Focus Categories: Toxic Substances, Water Quality, Treatment

Keywords: Wastewater treatment, WWTF, the brominated flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers, PBDEs, persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals, PBTs, sludge treatment, anaerobic digestion, dehalogenation

Start Date: 03/01/2004

End Date: 03/01/2005

Federal Funds: $30,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $61,151

Congressional District: 6

Principal Investigators:
Donna E. Fennell

Lisa A. Totten

Uta Krogman


Sludge treatment processes used in New Jersey include anaerobic digestion, aerobic digestion, lime stabilization, advanced alkaline stabilization, composting, pelletization and wet air oxidation.

Increasingly, Wastewater Treatment Facilities (WWTFs) are called to remove bioaccumulative and toxic chemicals (PBTs). This class of chemicals includes emerging pollutants such as the brominated flame retardants, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs)

Little is known how the different sludge treatment processes affect the fate of PBDEs. Few data are available on concentrations of PBDEs in sewage, sludges and biosolids (treated sewage sludge), however, those that are available suggest a significant presence.

This research seeks to document the presence and level of PBDEs in New Jersey sewage, sludges and biosolids from selected WWTF, and to determine whether environmentally relevant congeners of PBDEs are transformed or detoxified during one sludge treatment process—anaerobic digestion. The project will document the ability of anaerobic digestion to dehalogenate/detoxify selected environmentally relevant congeners of PBDEs, and prepare a full proposal to the EPA and/or the National Science Foundation for a broader assessment of the life cycle of halogenated PBTs, including PBDEs in the wastewater treatment process from influent to final disposal

Progress/Completion Report PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Wednesday July 13, 2005 4:11 PM
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