VBC Eastern Virginia Research Project Advances

The Virginia Biosolids Council has moved forward on coordinating a research project at the Eastern Virginia Agricultural Research and Extension Center (AREC) in Warsaw looking at the impact of biosolids application and PFAS in soils. This effort is designed to further the Council’s mission to fulfill the Code of Good Practice and provide farmers with information on PFAS and biosolids. The research plot will be included in Dr. Ian Pepper’s national study.

Dr. Pepper, Director of The Water & Energy Sustainable Technology (WEST) Center at the University of Arizona, is spearheading a collaborative national study on the fate and transport of PFAS following long-term land application of biosolids. The project scales up Dr. Pepper’s local research on behalf of Pima County, Arizona. This study is titled “Evaluation of Fate and Transport of PFAS Following Long-Term Land Application of Biosolids: A Collaborative National Study.”

Chris Burbage and his team from Hampton Road Sanitation District (HRSD) took control soil samples on the research plot on Wednesday, May 17, prior to biosolids application. Chris Peot with DC Water delivered and applied their Class A Bloom product on Thursday, May 18 and HRSD conducted more sampling as soon as the biosolids were applied. Dr. Joseph Oakes, Director of the AREC, turbo tilled and planted soybeans on Friday, May 19. The plot is divided into three areas: a control section and two different sections where Bloom was applied at differing rates. Dr. Oakes will also measure weather and rainfall throughout the process. VBC staff worked with all of the partners to schedule the sampling, application and planting to ensure they complied with the protocols of Dr. Pepper’s study.

HRSD will conduct soil sampling through Summer and sampling will be conducted on the soybeans at harvest for PFAS uptake. All sampling has been conducted with the utmost care and thought to prevent cross contamination of PFAS with the samples. It is hopeful the plot can be used in the future to measure the impact of biosolids application over a longer period of time.