The use of treated biosolids for pest management and soil nutrient augmentation is not a new practice, but it has increased in the last two decades, primarily in the United States (22). In the late 1970s, the first land application regulations were formulated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) in response to the Clean Water Act (44). Land application of sewage sludge for soil amendment and land reclamation has increased over time as a result of the ban on ocean dumping of wastewater residuals (Ocean Disposal Ban Act of 1988). The Act also minimizes other disposal options, such as land-filling or incineration. In 1993, the Standards for the Use or Disposal of Sewage Sludge (Code of Federal Regulations Title 40, Part 503) was created (45,46). Part 503 (as it is commonly called) set pollutant limits, operational standards for human/animal pathogen and vector-attraction reduction, management practices, and other provisions intended to protect public health and the environment from any reasonably anticipated adverse effects from chemical pollutants and pathogenic organisms. In 1995, the EPA promoted the terminology “biosolids” rather than “sewage sludge” and defined biosolids as “the primarily organic solid product yielded by municipal wastewater treatment processes that can be beneficially recycled as soil amendments and meets the standards of Part 503”. Although the term is sometimes controversial (33), we will use biosolid in reference to the product tested in this research.
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