These biosolids undergo undergo treatment to make them safe for land application
Basic Information about Biosolids
- The term sewage sludge is used in EPA regulations that establish a protective regulatory framework to manage the use and disposal of sewage sludge.
- The terms biosolids and sewage sludge are often used interchangeably.
- When properly treated and processed, sewage sludge becomes biosolids which are nutrient-rich organic materials produced from wastewater treatment facilities.
- Biosolids can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.
- Effective sewage sludge and biosolids management options help ensure that useful materials are recycled on land and harmful materials are not released to water bodies.
Created by the EPA in 1985, the Pathogen Equivalency Committee (PEC) is a federally sponsored technical group that provides technical assistance and recommendations on process equivalencies for pathogen reduction in sewage sludge to government and industry. This website provides guidance from the PEC for demonstrating the effectiveness of innovative and/or alternative sewage sludge disinfection processes for the purposes of receiving a recommendation of equivalency to a process that significantly or further reduces pathogens.
Information for potential PEC applicants: Before applying to the PEC for equivalency, please read the information below and get acquainted with the process.
- Pathogen Equivalency Committee documents
In reviewing equivalency applications, the PEC ensure that new processes employed for sewage sludge treatment are robust and effective in pathogen reduction. The PEC reviews and makes recommendations to relevant federal and/or state permitting authorities on the merits of applications proposing new innovative or alternative sewage sludge pathogen reduction processes are equivalent to the processes currently listed in the 40 CFR Part 503, Subpart D, regulation.
- Basic information: Pathogen Equivalency Committee
- What is the Pathogen Equivalency Committee
- What are Processes to Further Reduce Pathogens (PFRPs) and Processes to Significantly Reduce Pathogens (PSRPs)?
- I have developed or have an idea for a new treatment process and would like to get equivalency. How do I get started?
- How can a process receive a national vs. site-specific equivalency recommendation?
- What are fecal coliform, Salmonella spp., enteric viruses, and helminth ova and why were they chosen to demonstrate equivalency?
A quality assurance project plan (QAPP) should be developed before beginning testing so that the desired quality in sample collection, laboratory analysis, data validation and reporting, as well as documentation and record keeping is achieved and maintained.
You may read about examples of companies and products that have received equivalency related to processes to significantly reduce pathogens and processes to further reduce pathogens.
Sewage Sludge Surveys
Surveys of Pollutants in Sewage Sludge / Biosolids
You may need Adobe Reader to view files on this page. See EPA’s About PDF page to learn more.
- Statistics Support Documentation for the 40 CFR Part 503 – Volume 1 (PDF)(286 pp, 11 MB, November 1992)
- Statistics Support Documentation for 40 CFR Part 503 – Volume II (PDF)(359 pp, 20 MB, November 1992)
- Sampling Procedures and Protocols for the National Sewage Sludge Survey (PDF)(37 pp, 2 MB)
- Dioxins Statistical Support Document for the Development of Round 2 (PDF)(149 pp, 784 K, April 2002, EPA -822-R-02-034)
- 2001 Dioxin National Sewage Sludge Survey (PDF)(21 pp, 798 K, September 2007, EPA-822-R-07-006)
- AMSA Dioxins Sewage Sludge Survey (PDF)(166 pp, 431 K, October 2001)
- Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Sampling and Analysis Technical Report (PDF)(88 pp, 368 K, January 2009, EPA-822-R-08-016)
- Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey Statistical Analysis Report (PDF)(58 pp, 397 K, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018)
- TNSSS Statistical Analysis Report Appendix A (PDF)(309 pp, 523 K, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018)
- TNSSS Statistical Analysis Report Appendix B (PDF)(104 pp, 264 K, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018)
- TNSSS Statistical Analysis Report Appendix C (PDF)(7 pp, 52 K, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018)
- TNSSS Statistical Analysis Report Appendix D (PDF)(5 pp, 75 K, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018)
- TNSSS Statistical Analysis Report Appendix E (PDF)(37 pp, 277 K, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018)
- TNSSS Statistical Analysis Report Appendix F (PDF)(19 pp, 1 MB, April 2009, EPA-822-R-08-018) )
- 2009 Nine POTW Study (PDF)(85 pp, 1 MB, August 2009, EPA-821-R-09-009)
The primary objective of EPA’s Nine POTW Study (the Study) was to investigate the occurrence of Contaminants of Emerging Concern (CECs) in untreated and fully treated wastewater at publicly owned treatment works (POTWs).
- Report on Elemental Analysis of Samples From the Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (PDF)(27 pp, 821 K, August 2015, EPA 800-S-15-001)
This report describes the sampling and analysis activities performed in a follow-up to the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey (TNSSS) and presents summary level data from the elemental analyses of sewage sludge samples. The elemental analyses were conducted as a follow-up activity not associated with the original survey, but employing archived sewage sludge samples from the TNSSS for the analyses of specific elements.