Sewage sludge has been used to reclaim surface- mined land in Fulton County, Ill. The sludge contains substantial concentrations of nutrients and significant concentrations of toxic organic compounds. Because of the concern of the fate of these toxins, the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago began an analysis of historical data in 1989 to compare the quality of water and streambed sediments to determine whether the application of sludge is adversely affecting the quality of surface water. Trend analyses on surface-water-quality data suggest that sludge application is affecting the quality of water in Evelyn Branch in the form of increased concentrations of nitrite plus nitrate and kjeldahl nitrogen. However, the concentrations of these constituents in Evelyn Branch, the stream draining the sludge-application field, are small compared to the concentrations upstream from the project area. Analysis of the streambed-quality data indicates that, for the constituents measured, the application of sludge is not affecting the streambed quality in Evelyn Branch. Trend analyses of streambed constituents did not indicate any adverse effects that could be related to the application of sludge. However, the avail- able data are not adequate to determine if the quality of the streambed has been adversely affected by the sludge application. A refinement of the sampling scheme would be necessary to rule out the possibility of present and future adverse effects of sludge application on streambed quality.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Surface-water and streambed-sediment quality of streams draining surface-mined land reclaimed with sewage sludge, Fulton County, Illinois, 1972-89
Water-Resources Investigations Report
U.S. Geological Survey ;
Earth Science Information Center, Open-File Reports Section [distributor],