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Organic pollutants in compost and digestate. Part 1. Polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and markers


Brändli, R C; Bucheli, T D; Kupper, T; Furrer, R; Stahel, W A; Stadelmann, F X; Tarradellas, J (2007). Organic pollutants in compost and digestate. Part 1. Polychlorinated biphenyls, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and markers. Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 9:456-464.

Abstract

In Europe, 9.3 × 106 tdryweight(dw) of compost and digestate are produced per year. Most of this is applied to agricultural land, which can lead to considerable inputs of organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to soil. This paper presents an inventory of the pollutant situation in source-separated composts, digestates and presswater in Switzerland by a detailed analysis of over 70 samples. PCB concentrations (PCB 28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153, 180) were significantly higher in urban (median: 30 µg kg–1dw, n = 52) than in rural samples (median: 14 µg kg–1dw, n = 16). Together with low concentrations in general, this points to aerial deposition on compost input material as the major contamination pathway. Enantiomeric fractions of atropisometric PCB were close to racemic. Median PAH concentration was 3010 µg kg–1dw (15PAH, n = 69), and one quarter of the samples exhibited concentrations above the relevant Swiss guide value for compost (4000 µg kg–1dw). The levels were influenced by the treatment process (digestate > compost), the season of input material collection (spring–summer > winter > autumn), the particle size (coarse-grained > fine-grained), and maturity (mature > less mature). The main source of PAH in compost was pyrogenic, probably influenced mainly by liquid fossil fuel combustion and some asphalt abrasion, as suggested by multiple linear regression. This study, together with a companion paper reporting on other organic contaminates including emerging compound classes, provides a starting point for a better risk-benefit estimation of the application of compost and digestate to agricultural soil in Switzerland.

Abstract

In Europe, 9.3 × 106 tdryweight(dw) of compost and digestate are produced per year. Most of this is applied to agricultural land, which can lead to considerable inputs of organic pollutants, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) to soil. This paper presents an inventory of the pollutant situation in source-separated composts, digestates and presswater in Switzerland by a detailed analysis of over 70 samples. PCB concentrations (PCB 28, 52, 101, 118, 138, 153, 180) were significantly higher in urban (median: 30 µg kg–1dw, n = 52) than in rural samples (median: 14 µg kg–1dw, n = 16). Together with low concentrations in general, this points to aerial deposition on compost input material as the major contamination pathway. Enantiomeric fractions of atropisometric PCB were close to racemic. Median PAH concentration was 3010 µg kg–1dw (15PAH, n = 69), and one quarter of the samples exhibited concentrations above the relevant Swiss guide value for compost (4000 µg kg–1dw). The levels were influenced by the treatment process (digestate > compost), the season of input material collection (spring–summer > winter > autumn), the particle size (coarse-grained > fine-grained), and maturity (mature > less mature). The main source of PAH in compost was pyrogenic, probably influenced mainly by liquid fossil fuel combustion and some asphalt abrasion, as suggested by multiple linear regression. This study, together with a companion paper reporting on other organic contaminates including emerging compound classes, provides a starting point for a better risk-benefit estimation of the application of compost and digestate to agricultural soil in Switzerland.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Mathematics
Dewey Decimal Classification:510 Mathematics
Language:English
Date:2007
Deposited On:07 Dec 2009 10:52
Last Modified:06 Dec 2017 20:41
Publisher:Royal Society of Chemistry
ISSN:1464-0325
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1039/b617101j

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