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EPA PROPOSES DIOXIN STANDARD FOR BIOSOLIDS

Release Date: 12/16/99
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FOR RELEASE: THURSDAY, DEC. 16, 1999
EPA PROPOSES DIOXIN STANDARD FOR BIOSOLIDS

EPA is proposing a standard for dioxins in biosolids. Biosolids are treated sewage sludge -- the byproduct of municipal wastewater treatment – and can be recycled and applied as a fertilizer, disposed of in surface disposal units, or incinerated. Today’s proposal sets a limit of 300 parts per trillion toxic equivalents for dioxins in biosolids that are recycled and applied to the land as fertilizer. Facilities preparing biosolids for land application would also be required to follow new monitoring, record keeping and reporting requirements for dioxins in biosolids that are to be land applied. Based on risk assessment results, the proposed rule does not contain additional limits for dioxins in biosolids that are being placed in surface disposal units or incinerated. In February 1993, EPA set limits for metals, pathogens and total hydrocarbons for land application, surface disposal and incineration of biosolids. The Clean Water Act also requires regulation for pollutants not previously regulated, and this new proposal satisfies this requirement. Treated and processed biosolids can be safely recycled and applied to the land as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth. Only biosolids that have been treated to meet stringent federal and state standards can be approved for use as fertilizer. Local governments decide whether to recycle biosolids as a fertilizer, incinerate them, or bury them in landfills. The new biosolids proposal was signed on December 15, and is expected to be published in the Federal Register soon. EPA will take comment for 60 days following publication in the Federal Register. A fact sheet and a pre-publication version of the Federal Register notice are available at: http://www.epa.gov/ost/biosolids, or by calling 1-800-490-9198. For additional information, the public can call Arleen Plunkett in EPA’s Office of Water at 202-260-3418.

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