An Assessment of Mercury in Municipal Sewage Sludge Applied to Land

EPA Grant Number: U914711
Title: An Assessment of Mercury in Municipal Sewage Sludge Applied to Land
Investigators: Carpi, Anthony
Institution: Cornell University
EPA Project Officer: Michaud, Jayne
Project Period: January 1, 1995 through January 1, 1997
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1995) Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Hazardous Waste/Remediation


The overall objective of this research project is to add to the existing knowledge of trace metal contamination in municipal sewage sludge (MSS) to aid in informed decision making. The specific objective of this research project is to make use of significant scientific collaboration to increase the potential success and minimize the costs of a study of elemental mercury and methylmercury in MSS destined for application to agricultural lands.


With the recent increase in the practice of land application of MSS to land, it is important to understand the fate and toxicity of all potential contaminants. Elemental mercury and methylmercury are two pollutants that may contaminate or be formed in MSS. Although water resources are extremely sensitive to mercury contamination because of the high biomagnification factor for methlymercury in fish, little research exists currently on these potential pollutants in MSS. Elemental mercury emissions from land-applied MSS will be investigated using two published and proven field measurement methods. Total mercury and methylmercury contamination, transformation, and transport in MSS will be studied using strict sampling and analytical quality control procedures to insure accuracy. Once field sampling and chemical analyses are complete, the risks posed by the potential movement of these two contaminants to water resources will be evaluated.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, municipal sewage sludge, MSS, toxicity, pollutant, mercury, methymercury, contamination, decisionmaking., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Waste, ECOSYSTEMS, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Municipal, Environmental Chemistry, Ecosystem/Assessment/Indicators, Ecosystem Protection, Ecological Effects - Environmental Exposure & Risk, Ecological Monitoring, Ecology and Ecosystems, municipal sludge, ecological effects, mercury, ecosystem assessment, municipal waste, metal release, municipal sewage sludge, ecological assessment, municipal wastewater, agriculture ecosystems

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1995
  • Final