AMSA Supports EPA Final Rule on Dioxin in Land-Applied Biosolids

Clean Water Advocacy - News Releases - October 17, 2003

For Immediate Release: October 17, 2003
Contact: Adam Krantz, 202/833-4651, AMSA

AMSA Supports EPA Final Rule on Dioxin in Land-Applied Biosolids
The Association of Metropolitan Sewerage Agencies (AMSA) believes the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) decision, that no regulation of dioxins in land-applied biosolids is needed to protect human health and the environment, is supported by sound science and commends the Agency for this decision. As EPA’s press release notes “after five years of study, including outside peer review, the Agency has determined that dioxins from this source do not pose a significant risk to human health or the environment.” Additionally, AMSA conducted several of its own dioxins studies and found similar compelling results.

AMSA’s Executive Director, Ken Kirk, supports EPA’s final decision saying, “this final rule reaffirms that sound science remains the bedrock on which solid environmental policy is made,” adding that “the nation’s publicly owned treatment works are working hard to make sure that this vital resource is treated and land applied in accordance with EPA’s Part 503 rule. The science behind EPA’s decision is compelling.”

Of the population that is most highly exposed to biosolids — those who land-apply it as a fertilizer to their crops and animal feed and then consume their own crops and meat products — only 0.003 new cases of cancer could be expected each year or only 0.22 new cases of cancer over a span of 70 years and the risk to the general population is even smaller. Simply stated, new scientific evidence continues to bolster the inherent safety and environmental benefits of land applying biosolids.

AMSA continues to believe that, in line with the National Research Council’s July 2002 report on the land application of biosolids, the answer to reassuring the public regarding the safety of land-applied biosolids rests in ongoing scientific study. For example, AMSA believes EPA’s upcoming January 2004 final response to the NRC Report and release of its findings regarding additional pollutants in biosolids that may require regulation will continue this important process of gathering the needed evidence to consistently reassure the public of the safety of biosolids. AMSA will continue to work with the Agency to ensure its decisions continue to be based on sound science. For more information on the rule, please visit

AMSA is a national trade association representing hundreds of the nation's publicly owned wastewater treatment utilities. AMSA members serve the majority of the sewered population in the United States and collectively treat and reclaim over 18 billion gallons of wastewater every day. AMSA members are environmental practitioners dedicated to protecting and improving the nation's waters and public health.

1816 Jefferson Place, Washington, DC 20036-2505 • 202.833.AMSA • 202.833.4657 FAX