Author(s): Clarke B, Porter N, Symons R, Blackbeard J, Ades P,
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Abstract An Australian survey of dioxin-like compounds in sewage sludge was conducted in two parts (a) a national survey, and (b) a time-study. All sewage sludge samples analysed as part of these studies had low overall concentrations of dioxin-like compounds. Out of 37 samples, all except one, were within the reported concentration range of soil within the Australian environment. The mean concentration of dioxin-like compounds in the Australian sewage sludge survey of 2006 was found to be 5.6 (s.d. 4.5) ng WHO(05) TEQkg(-1) (n=14) and were within the range of 1.2-15.3 ng WHO(05) TEQ kg(-1). All the Australian sewage sludge samples cited in these studies were below the Victorian EPA "investigation limit" of 50 ng WHO(98) TEQ kg(-1), and well below the European proposed guidelines of 100 ng I-TEQ kg(-1). The burden of dioxin-like compounds in Australian sewage sludge is low and its land application as biosolids is not likely to pose a problem. A general positive relationship was found between population of the town producing the waste and both dioxin-like PCDD/Fs and dioxin-like PCBs. The one exception to this trend was sludge from a town that had a history of smelting and had a relatively high burden of dioxin-like compounds. Sludge from one rural WWTP also had a higher burden of dioxin-like compounds. The treatment plant services a geographically isolated town with a low population and no known emitters of dioxin-like compounds. However, this sample also had a relatively high burden of dioxin-like PCBs, which could be the source of the dioxin-like PCDD/Fs found in this sludge. The time study analyzing sludges from three WWTP from the same city between the years 2002 and 2006 found no apparent difference between WWTPs, but a statistically significant decline of 1.49 ng WHO(05) TEQ kg(-1) per year. Also, a comprehensive review of the scientific literature, presents typical levels and sources of dioxin-like compounds in international sewage sludges.
This article was published in Chemosphere
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation