What's Happening With Biosolids at U. S. EPA?
Thanks for an update from Rick Stevens at EPA (forwarded by Greg Kester of CASA).
In recent years, U. S. EPA has reduced its biosolids program staffing considerably. Biosolids reporting has been consolidated to the Region 7 office, limited research on biosolids occurs at the labs in Cinnatti, and staff at headquarters in Washington have thinned to just a few, mostly part-time on biosolids. Rick Stevens, who continues the Part 503 review and risk assessment program, recently outlined the work for 2015:
Risk assessment for Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) pollutants:
• Full probabilistic Risk Assessment for the Phase I TNSSS pollutants (i.e., barium, beryllium, manganese, molybdenum, silver, pyrene, 4-Chloroaniline, fluoranthene, nitrate and nitrite)
o Completed at the end of 2014 preliminary draft responses to three comments documents:
National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA)
o Finalize response to comments documents (2QFY2015)
o Update the Technical Background Document with new text that incorporates comment responses (3QFY2015)
• Screen Phase II pollutants (up to 135 pollutants with sufficient data) utilizing the BCRAM Screening Tool and input from the 10 TNSSS pollutants RA (4QFY2015)
• Incorporate edits for the draft summary Update of the Biosolids Inventory in Support of Biennial Review Cycle 2011 and submit for final clearance
• Summarize progress of Biennial Review 2013 and submit for management review
Reevaluate Dioxin and dioxin-like congeners utilizing a non-cancer IRIS human health benchmark (RfD)
• Draft document prepared
• Prepare peer review charge questions / work statement (timeframe TBD)
• Peer review (timeframe TBD)
Develop and refine scientific tools available for evaluating risks for pollutants found in biosolids:
• An updated version of the BCRAM screening tool and User’s Guide are being prepared for external peer review starting in 2QFY2015:
o Finalized testing for download functionality on a secure ftp site and addressed comments on the draft model
o Awaiting selection of a peer review panel by Contractor
• For the full scale probabilistic model, continue efforts to integrate LandApp into FRAMES reading data from the system database used in the ten pollutant risk assessment. The latest effort includes setting up and running the model with EPA’s Supercomputer for Model Uncertainty and Sensitivity Evaluation (SuperMUSE), which is a key framework designed for enhancing quality assurance in environmental models and applications.
• Identify a path forward for products derived from sewage sludge (e.g., Struvite)
• Make the Biosolids Webpage Drupal WebCMS and One EPA Web compliant (4QFY2015)
In the meantime, Dr. Stevens reports that, of the 14 projects to which EPA committed in response to the National Academy of Sciences 2002 review of the Part 503 rule, all but one are completed or ongoing (e.g. the bienniel reviews are ongoing). The one remaining project is the continuing review of molybdenum in land applied biosolids.