Environmental Sciences Western Field StationWestern Science

Persistence and Transport of Emerging Substances of Concern

Field ResearchIn work conducted at ESW, led by Ed Topp from Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the soil persistence and transport potential via surface runoff of numerous “Emerging Substances of Concern” (ESOCs) from biosolids-treated land is being determined in the context of evaluating the risk of exposure to adjacent water. Likewise, potential uptake of ESOCs into crops grown on biosolids-treated land is being characterized. In many jurisdictions municipal biosolids are commonly applied to agricultural land as a valued source of nutrients for crop production and organic matter for improvement of soil quality. The sustainable agronomic use of biosolids must be undertaken with consideration of the potential risk to environmental and human health posed by microbial, organic and inorganic contaminants that may be found in the material. Recently, pharmaceuticals and personal care products (amongst a number of ESOCs) have received significant regulatory and scientific scrutiny as an important class of organic contaminants present in biosolids.