Health risk assessment for the land application of biosolids in Ankara, Turkey : ingestion pathway

Kendir, Ece
Biosolids are valuable products which can be beneficially used in land application. However, the possibility of serious health effects on humans due to several pollutants in biosolids creates a big concern. To address this issue, risk-based methodologies are commonly used to evaluate health effects associated with the land application of biosolids. This study aims to investigate the health risks associated with ingestion of biosolids or soil mixed with biosolids by a child. This study is the first health risk assessment study in Turkey for land application of biosolids. Monthly sludge samples taken from Ankara Central Wastewater Treatment Plant (ACWWTP) in 2012 were analyzed for seven heavy metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Hg, Ni, Pb, and Zn), and two organic contaminants (PCB and NPE) concentrations. To calculate health risks, methodologies developed by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA) and French National Institute for Industrial Environment and Risks (INERIS) were used. With both methods, cancer and non-cancer risks for the ingestion by a child pathway were determined and found to be below the acceptable cancer and non-cancer risk levels suggested by U.S. EPA and INERIS. Additionally, same health risk calculations were conducted for sludge and soil limit values provided in Turkish Regulation for the Use of Sewage Sludge in Agriculture (2010) to determine what the maximum health risk would be for the worst case scenario in Turkey. According to the results, even if the concentrations are at the maximum possible regulatory levels, the health risks are still low.