The objective of this study was to determine if the runoff from croplands fertilized with municipal sludge was toxic to aquatic biota and, therefore, a potential threat to either public health or the environment. Seven-day bioassays with Ceriodaphnia dubia showed that the No-Observed-Effect-Concentration (NOEC) was 24 g/L and the Lowest-Observed-Effect-Concentration (LOEC) for survival was 30 g/L for soil samples treated with 35.2 metric tonnes (MT)/ha of municipal sludge. For soil samples treated with 0 and 17.6 MT/ha of sludge, the survival rates of C. dubia were not significantly affected at concentrations of 6-30 g/L of soil. Reproduction was suppressed by 25% when daphnids were exposed to 3.3 g/L concentration of soil treated with sludge at 35.2 MT/ha. A 50% suppression of reproduction occurred when daphnids were exposed to 15 g/L concentration of soil treated with sludge at 17.6MT/ha. A sludge application rate of 17.6MT/ha suppressed reproduction at a treatment concentration of 18g/L. These data indicate that the runoff from agricultural lands treated with municipal sludge has the potential to affect reproduction in daphnids and, therefore, the environment through the aquatic food chain.
Additional publication details
Effects of sludge filtrate on the survival and reproduction of Ceriodaphnia dubia