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Keywords:

  • biosolids;
  • land application;
  • positive matrix factorization;
  • elemental characterization

This article focuses on quantification of the chemical composition of particulate matter (PM) emitted during the injection of biosolids on a farm field near Toledo, Ohio. In the summer of 2009, field sampling was done during the three stages of the biosolids application. The collected filter papers were analyzed to identify the elemental composition. Chemical composition of the PM was determined using ICP-OES. The receptor modeling using the positive matrix factorization (PMF) was used to identify and characterize the source profiles contributing to the emissions. The chemical analysis showed that the biosolids application enriched the concentration of macronutrients and micronutrients that were essential for growth of vegetation. Industrial source, dust/soil, biosolids, and ambient/background were the sources identified using the PMF modeling. The contribution of each source to the elemental concentration was also determined. The biosolids source contributed significantly to the emissions of aluminum (85%), cadmium (59%), chromium (96%), nickel (45%), lead (49%), and silicon (62%). In the future, the biosolids source profile derived in this study will be helpful when applying these findings in related work. © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 32: 1234–1239, 2013