Guidance For Controlling Potential Risks To Workers Exposed to Class B Biosolidsby National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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Biosolids are the organic residues resulting from the treatment of commercial, industrial, and municipal wastewater (sewage). One purpose of the treatment is to significantly reduce the concentration of disease-causing organisms (also known as pathogens). Treatment also reduces the attractiveness of the residues to insects, birds, and rodents. The product is a material that can be recycled for uses such as adding organic material to the soil.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has established two categories of biosolids:
Class A biosolids have undergone treatment to the point where the concentration of pathogens is reduced to levels low enough that no additional restrictions or special handling precautions are required by Federal regulations [40 CFR* Part 503]. If the Class A biosolids meet exceptional quality requirements for metals content, they may be sold in bags and applied in the same way as other soil conditioners such as peat moss.
Class B biosolids have undergone treatment that has reduced but not eliminated pathogens. By definition, Class B biosolids may contain pathogens. As a result, Federal regulations for use of Class B biosolids require additional measures to restrict public access and to limit livestock grazing for specified time periods after land application [40 CFR Part 503]. This allows time for the natural die-off of pathogens in the soil.
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