Unregulated Organic Chemicals in Biosolids: Prioritization, Fate and Risk Evaluation for Land Applications

The land application of biosolids offers multiple benefits over landfilling and incineration and improves soil health and plant nutrition. However, biosolids contain numerous unregulated organic chemicals (UOCs) leading to concerns that may impede the beneficial use of biosolids. In particular, there are perceived risks from a potential accumulation of UOCs in food and feed crops, as well as potential offsite transport that could result in groundwater or surface water contamination.  

This project is funded through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's National Priorities Program under grant number 84024501.

The overall goal of this research is to address key data gaps in our understanding of the occurrence and fate of unregulated organic chemicals (UOCs) in biosolids when land is applied and identify which UOCs in biosolids-amended soils may pose a high risk to human and ecosystem health. To achieve this goal, we propose a combination of field, laboratory, and modeling activities. 

WEF and WRF will have a dedicated virtual space for ongoing dialogue and stakeholder engagement, pre-recorded presentations of research progress, state of the current knowledge, and key findings. All final products from the project will be posted and publicly accessible on a dedicated web page through the WRF website, with links to journal articles, presentations, workshop materials, news items, etc., from the project. 

Total Funding

Total funding for this project equals $2,262,882.

Projects Funded

Unregulated Organic Chemicals in Biosolids: Prioritization, Fate and Risk Evaluation for Land Application (5125)


  • Jay Gan, University of California (5136)
  • Linda Lee, Purdue University (5137)
  • Drew McAvoy, University of Cincinnati (5138)
  • Maile Lono-Batura, Water Environment Federation (5139)

CWEA published an article about this project

The article, "San Francisco Bay Area Agencies Participate in Land Application Biosolids Study," was published in Issue 5, 2022 of Clean Water.


Please contact Lola Olabode, MPH, BCES with questions about this grant.