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Posted Mar. 27, 2003

Rules would control use of PCB-laden soils on farms

By John Dipko
Press-Gazette Madison bureau

MADISON — The state Department of Natural Resources will take to the public interim rules that would govern the spreading of PCB-tainted soils on farm fields.

The proposed package would identify maximum annual rates of application, testing requirements and prevention measures for the spreading of soils tainted with PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls.

The rules would apply to sewerage sludge, industrial sludge and other solid wastes currently spread in Wisconsin.

The interim rules would not apply to PCB-tainted soils dredged from the Green Bay harbor and stored at the Bay Port Dredge Material Rehandling Facility.

PCBs once were used by paper mills along the Fox River and released into the water.

About 98 percent of wastewater treatment plants use land spreading, and no criteria exist on how much of the sediment may be spread, said Kevin Kessler of the DNR’s Air & Waste Management Division.

“We discovered that all sewerage sludge contains a certain amount of PCBs,” Kessler said. “Humans contain and excrete PCBs.”

The rules propose an annual amount of PCBs spread at 1,200 milligrams per acre of land used to graze or grow food for humans and 2,500 milligrams per acre of nonagricultural land.

As interim rules, the package would be reviewed for changes once the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acts on applicable sludge regulations. Most PCBs would not be covered under the federal regulations.

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