WERF to Provide Funding for Research on Protecting Groundwater Near Biosolids Land Application Sites

On Feb. 9, the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) issued a request for proposals (RFP) for research that would provide biosolids managers and facility owners and operators with the information needed to protect groundwater resources in the vicinity of biosolids land application sites.

This research also will provide a compendium of current best management practices for groundwater protection at land application sites and will account for the variety of geologic formations and other site conditions associated with land application practices. Effective communication to assure the public that groundwater is being protected at land-application sites is also an important aspect of the products to be developed.

"This research will provide important information to help assure that our groundwaters are protected in areas where biosolids are used as a soil amendment," said Alan Hais, program director at WERF.

EPA's Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge (40 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 503) evaluated 15 pathways of exposure to set pollutants limits and site restrictions for land application of biosolids. At least two of these pathways considered groundwater: exposure to pollutants in land-applied sewage sludge and exposure to surface water affected by both surface runoff and groundwater. While neither of these exposure scenarios was used to set pollutants limits, there is still some public concern for groundwater contamination from land application practices, WERF officials said.

Additional information on protection of groundwater was identified as a priority research need for land application of biosolids by participants of the 2003 WERF-EPA Biosolids Research Summit. This project was also ranked highest priority by the WERF Biosolids Targeted Collaborative Research funding agencies.

Proposals must be received by 5 p.m. (EST) March 12. Additional information on this RFP can be found at http://www.werf.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Funding/OpenRFPs/default.htm.

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