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Keywords:

  • scanning electron microscope;
  • energy dispersive spectroscopy;
  • land application of biosolids;
  • airborne particulates;
  • physico-chemical properties

Airborne particulate matter samples were collected during biosolids applications in the summer 2009. The biosolids were applied with the injection method. The major emphasis of the analysis was on providing in depth information such as size, shape, morphology, and chemical composition of different particles collected before, during, and after land application of biosolids. A significant correlation was observed between sampling stages and size distribution of particles. Particles with larger diameter (> 10 μm) during the application stage were observed to be very high. The particle shape analysis identified particles as polygons and spherical in shape as defined by the shape factor. There was a significant increase in agglomerates and floccules for the application stage. The elemental composition of particles obtained by energy dispersive spectroscopy spectra suggests that the particles collected contained elements such as C, O, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, K, Ca, Fe, Cu, and Zn. It was observed that Cr, Pb, P, Cd, and Mn were present only in particles collected during the application stage and were not detected during the pre-application stage or the post-application stage. Presence of these elements during the application stage could be attributed to the biosolids application. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 325-334, 2013