Apr 11, 2008

WERF Seeks Research Proposals to Test Protocol for Land Application of Soil Amendments

WERF will provide up to $400,000; proposals due June 6, 2008

The Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF) is accepting proposals for pilot testing a protocol designed to help local environmental and health officials respond to health complaints from citizens who come in contact with land-applied soil amendments, including biosolids.

WERF is providing up to $400,000 for researchers to test and refine a protocol for collecting, acting on and maintaining information about reports and investigations of exposures and health symptoms reported by persons in proximity to municipal wastewater treatment biosolids land application sites. A practical, objective and reliable protocol would be valuable to citizens, health agencies and environmental agencies, as well as to wastewater treatment plants and biosolids land appliers. Pilot testing would take place under real-world conditions by local health officials and environmental agencies that are responsible for health issues or biosolids land application practices and requirements.

"We believe this protocol is a significant step forward in making sure that producers, appliers, regulators and the public have reliable and accurate information," said Dan Woltering, director of WERF Research. "Pilot testing is an essential step in bringing together people representing a variety of expertise and responsibilities, to determine whether the protocol indeed accomplishes what it sets out to do."

Proposals are due no later than June 6, 2008. The protocol is intended to be used by medical providers and public health officials when citizens report health symptoms that they attribute to the application of soil amendments such as fertilizer, biosolids, animal manures and food residuals. The protocol collects the following information:
• documentation of reported symptoms;
• recent land application of soil amendments in the vicinity;
• sources, amounts, and characteristics of the soil amendment;
• factors that could lead to off-site impacts; and
other exposures that could be related to reported symptoms of illness.

The complete request for proposals, with instructions, can be viewed at www.werf.org.