Sludge Application and Monitoring Program on the Oak Ridge Reservation, 1986-1993

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Sludge Application and Monitoring Program on the Oak Ridge Reservation, 1986-1993

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Municipal sewage sludge has been applied to forests and pastures on the DOE (U.S. Department of Energy) Oak Ridge Reservation (ORR) since 1983 as a method of both disposal and beneficial reuse. Application was carried out under State of Tennessee permits issued to the City of Oak Ridge for land disposal of. sewage sludge. In conjunction with these applications, information has been collected concerning sludge quantity and characteristics, soil parameters, soil water constituents, groundwater quality, surface runoff water quality, and various chemical constituents in vegetation on application sites. This information provides (1) a record of sludge application on the DOE ORR, and (2) documentation of changes in soil parameters following sludge application. The information also provides a basis for evaluating the implications of the land application of municipal sewage sludge for soil and water quality and for evaluating the fate of sludge constituents when sludge is either sprayed onto or injected into pasture sites or applied to the surface of forested sites. This report covers in detail sludge applications conducted from 1986 through 1993, with some data from the period between 1983 and 1986. Land application has been recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a desirable alternative for disposal of ORR waste. Municipal sewage sludge is in many ways similar to dilute animal manure fertilizer, but it also contains metals, organic chemicals, human pathogens, and other constituents reflective of inputs into the municipal sewage treatment plant. When applied to land, nutrients in the sludge improve soil fertility, and minerals and organic matter in the sludge improve soil structure. Under optimal conditions, metals are immobilized, and organic chemicals and pathogens are immobilized or destroyed. If the sludge is not managed effectively, however, sludge constituents have the potential to affect human health and the environment.


Prepared by the Energy Systems Waste Management Organization. Downloadable PDF available through remote link via Information Bridge. Report Number: ES/WM--59