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Behaviour of sewage sludge-derived PAHs on pasture.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


Journal publication date2001
JournalEnvironmental Science and Technology
Number of pages10
Original languageEnglish


A field experiment was set up to investigate the retention of PAHs by pasture grass following sludge application. In addition to information on compound-specific loss rates, the influence of meteorological variables and sludge-pasture contact time on the weathering process were investigated. The rates of loss were compound specific with half-lives ranging from <1 to 10 d. The lighter PAHs were rapidly lost from the grass surface primarily by volatilization. For the intermediate and heavier PAHs, loss was slower with rain playing an important role in the weathering process. Growth dilution was also important in reducing the contaminant levels in the grass. The effect of sludge-pasture contact time prior to weathering by rain on the residual levels remains unclear. In terms of risk of exposure, there is the potential for persistent organic contaminants to be introduced into the grazing animal food chain if sewage sludge is applied to pasture land.