MidAtlantic Biosolids Association

April 2024 - Executive Director’s Report to MABA Members

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MABA core leadership rises to the challenge, and asks,
“Who are the next thought leaders for the biosolids community”

January’s report highlighted the great responsibility and need for guidance and oversight in the year ahead, and MABA’s leaders have not disappointed - the activities and initiatives carried out so far are impressive, and there is much more to come in the months ahead.  These achievements come from the talents and efforts of an invaluable group of individuals who serve the MABA committees.  MABA’s executive team is asking our members to consider how their colleagues and peers’ individual talents and abilities can help MABA and likewise the biosolids community in the region. 

It has been a busy and productive start to the year for MABA. It has bolstered partnerships with similar organizations and has entered into MOUs with two other regional biosolids associations (NEBRA & MBA) and three WEF member associations (VWEA, NYWEA and CWEA). These MOUs afford each organization with the same member pricing for biosolids related training - offering MABA members a unique discount to other organizations’ educational offerings and opening up MABA’s webinars and symposium to a greater audience across the region and the nation.

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The Membership Committee has brought on several new members, including ACUA and DELCORA, and they spoke with current MABA members to better serve them.  The Programming Committee put together two successful webinars, Advancements in Anaerobic Digestion in January and Effective Communications with the Public in March, and gathered abstracts for the 2024 Summer Symposium taking place in July in Richmond, Virginia. Through the work of the Programming and Communications committees, MABA will have a booth at both the NJWEA conference in May and the PWEA conference in June, and a MABA presentation abstract has been submitted for the NYWEA spring conference in June.  The Communications Committee has overseen the continued offerings of the MABA monthly newsclips, Sally Brown research library, the new Biosolids Corner updates and the first installments of the Biosolids Spotlights from Bill Toffey of Effluential Synergies.  

The MABA Reg/Leg Committee has transformed with state delegates reporting back on each area of the region, and keeping the committee and board abreast of developments.  Updates on Pennsylvania’s HR 257 as well as the Senate EPW have been shared with members, and a full regulatory/legislative update was shared with the membership in March.  The MABA PFAS Focus Group has continued to add information to the MABA website PFAS pages, and they are bringing a key talking points document to the board for their consideration.  And MABA’s Finance Committee looks to ensure the financial stability of the future of MABA as they present the first ever investment policy to the board for review. 

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Andrew Carnegie once wrote, “Teamwork is the ability to work together toward a common vision. The ability to direct individual accomplishments toward organizational objectives. It is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results.”  MABA’s members embody this sentiment through their work for MABA and the biosolids community.  And in the same vein, the leadership team knows that the more talented and hard working individuals support our organization, the stronger and more powerful it will be.  

It is with this in mind that we look to our members and ask that you consider your colleagues, peers and biosolids network to find the next biosolids thought leaders in the crowd.  Your direct contact and invitation to these individuals might be the exact catalyst that they need to take action and join a committee, or offer other important assistance to MABA.  Thank you for your work for the biosolids sector in the region, and for your continued stewardship of this great organization.

If you are interested in learning more about MABA, MABF, and getting more involved, please reach out to me at [email protected] or 845-901-7905.


March 2024 - MABA Reg/Leg Update



Senate EPW


The U.S. Senate Committee on Environment & Public Works will hold a hearing on March 20 at 10 a.m. ET titled "Examining PFAS as Hazardous Substances".  View information about the hearing, including the panelists HERE, and view the hearing by visiting the Senate EPW YouTube live stream by clicking HERE.


MABA, along with over 50 other organizations submitted a letter to the Senate EPW to encourage their consideration of an exemption from CERCLA liability for passive PFAS receivers.  You can view and download that letter by clicking HERE.




On January 31, 2024, the USEPA released an updated version of Method 1633, which outlines how to test for PFAS in various sources such as surface water, groundwater, wastewater, biosolids, sediment, soils, and fish tissue.  Additionally, an updated version of Method 1621, covering adsorbable fluorine, was also posted.  Method 1633 has been updated after the successful completion of a multi-lab validation under the leadership of the Department of Defense. These updates signify that the methods are now finalized and the USEPA encourages their use, although revisions may still occur during the rulemaking process. 


More information is available by clicking HERE.




In November 2023, Pennsylvania Representative Jim Rigby introduced Pennsylvania’s House Resolution 257 – concerning proposed General Permits 07, 08 and 09 regarding the management of biosolids. This resolution urges the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, as a result of the findings of the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee's report, not to implement the proposed revisions. 


Representative Rigby wrote in his house co-sponsorship memoranda, "This resolution directly follows the direction in the Legislative Budget and Finance Committee’s recently released study commissioned by HR149.  As LBFC summarized: 'Permit changes may create unintended consequences for biosolids management, which could result in higher fees for ratepayers. I am concerned about these higher fees impacting sewage rate payers in Pennsylvania.


While the LBFC report provided estimates for the direct costs related to permit changes, they also identified several indirect costs that could follow compliance with DEP’s proposed permit revisions. Although the cost of these unintended consequences will be site-specific these costs undoubtedly will be passed along to local ratepayers in the form of increased fees.'  Ultimately these additional fees will have a disproportionate impact on families that are least able to pay increased sewage rates."


MABA encourages you to read this memoranda and house resolution, and consider reaching out to your legislators to ask them to support this resolution.  You can find your legislators by clicking HERE.



In December 2023, the Maryland Department of the Environment released the Maryland PFAS Action Plan.  The update indicated that MDE has issued 14 NPDES permits with specific PFAS monitoring requirements for influent, effluent and biosolids. The Department’s report also stated that the biosolids testing was completed in the third quarter 2023 and a decision would be made by the end of 2023. However, to date, it is our understanding that MDE has not reached a decision on issuing any permits.


The MABA Reg/Leg Committee sent a letter to the Maryland Department of the Environment in February 2024 to request that MDE provide MABA with testing data findings and what approach MDE will be taking moving forward with respect to ending the moratorium and moving forward on the issuance of permits that we understand MDE has processed but not issued. 


You can view and download this letter by clicking HERE.




HB 870 from Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, would require the Virginia State Water Control Board to adopt regulations to address situations when wastewater treatment plant  storage capacity is exceeded due to adverse weather conditions, resulting in the flow of biosolids — or sewage sludge — into state waters.


Bulova told the House last month these sewage overflow events are expected to occur more frequently because of the increased frequency, intensity and duration of storm events being driven by climate change. 


Representing the Virginia Biosolids Council, Kyle Shreve said biosolids, a byproduct of sewage treated at wastewater plants, are often used as fertilizer on farm fields. However, he said biosolids can’t be used during periods of heavy rainfall and can begin to build up in storage facilities and potentially create water quality issues if they get in state waters.


The issue started gaining attention in 2018, when Virginia had its highest level of precipitation since 1895, according to data from the National Centers for Environmental Information. A series of intense storms hit the commonwealth the following year, flooding neighborhoods and overwhelming infrastructure. 


During that time period, Shreve said there were multiple storage challenges that the wastewater facilities were unable to deal with under current regulations, which offer different temporary solutions depending on the facility. 


Shreve said the bill asks the Department of Environmental Quality to update the existing biosolids regulations so plans can be preapproved in the event severe weather prevents land application of biosolids in the future. 


The legislation passed the House and Senate unanimously.


New Jersey


On January 17, 2023, the Commissioner signed Administrative Order 2023-01  to encourage the collection of data that will aid in efforts to identify, reduce and eliminate sources of PFAS in wastewater and its residuals.


The Division of Water Quality is undertaking an effort to identify, reduce and eliminate sources of PFAS in industrial wastewater.  As part of the effort to identify PFAS at the source, the Division began their strategy by focusing on the direct industrial dischargers to surface water (Category B permits) and industrial dischargers to a POTW (Category L permits), along with working with Delegated Local Agencies to begin identifying, reducing and eliminating sources of PFAS discharged into their systems. The Division created and issued a survey to permittees to gather information regarding potential sources of PFAS and operational processes. The Division also issued a Request for Information to gather wastewater sampling data from the surveyed permittees. This data will aid the Division in understanding the scope of PFAS in wastewater discharges.  


For additional information regarding PFAS monitoring in the NJDEP surface water division click HERE.


The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (Department) has officially adopted amendments to the Ground Water Quality Standards, N.J.A.C. 7:9C (GWQS) and the New Jersey Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Regulations, N.J.A.C. 7:14A (NJPDES) to address perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in discharges to ground water.  


In response to the adopted amendments, the Division of Water Quality began modifying NJPDES DGW permits to include monitoring for PFOA, PFNA and PFOS.

The Ground Water Application Checklist  and the Technical Manual for NJPDES DGW Permits  have been updated to specify the requirement for PFAS monitoring as part of the Pollutant Analysis Summary in DGW permit applications.


Monitoring results for the NJPDES DGW permitted facilities that have been modified to include a requirement to monitor for PFOA, PFNA and PFOS can be viewed utilizing DEP DataMiner. To obtain this data, Search by Category, NJPDES Permitting Program.


For additional information regarding PFAS monitoring in the NJDEP ground water division click HERE.


New York


The New York State Department of Conservation (NYSDEC) adopted the Materials Management Program Policy 7 - Biosolids Recycling in New York State - Interim Strategy for the Control of PFAS Compounds (DMM7), as well as the Parts 360-366, 369, 371, and 377.  These were adopted on September 20, 2023,  and became effective October 20, 2023. 


The NYS DEC is in the process of sampling and analyses in coordination with SUNY at this time.  


Additionally, you can review the information from the October 16, 2023 webinar about the NYSDEC DMM-7 Policy.


You can watch the webinar on MABA's YouTube & subscribe today, and download the presentation and Q&A below:


Presentation: NYSDEC MABA Webinar Presentation - DMM Program Policy 7

Sally Rowland, PhD, PE, Environmental Engineer 3, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation


Additionally, you can download the questions/answers shared during the webinar by clicking HERE.  And you can review the list of industries (and SIC codes) as potential primary sources of PFOA/PFOS, by clicking HERE, and referencing Appendix A.




In Delaware, various wastewater streams (domestic, industrial and municipal) are treated and discharged into surface water bodies (NPDES discharges) as well as onto the ground surface, where it infiltrates the soil and ultimately enters groundwater (on-site wastewater discharges). Biosolids are land applied at numerous sites across the state.


DNREC’s Water Resource Protection team has started a statewide study of PFAS in wastewater.


Biosolids were selected to be examined first under a Biosolids Project Design and Sampling Plan. In December 2022, samples of biosolids (before being land applied), soils (from a selected land application site) and groundwater (from the monitoring wells installed at the selected site) were collected.


Project Design and Sampling Plan for wastewater influent, effluent and discharge receival media (soil and groundwater) has been completed. Field sampling is expected to start in the summer of 2023. 


In addition, samples of septages from individual septic systems will also be collected and evaluated, under a Project Design and Sampling Plan for septages.


For additional information regarding the DNREC PFAS in Wastewater, click HERE.


January 2024 - Executive Director’s Report to MABA Members

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With great power comes great responsibility…

The New Year is upon us, and the developments of 2022 and 2023 have propelled MABA into a seat of great accomplishment and standing as an organization and leader in the biosolids sector.  MABA’s leadership has done tremendous work to develop the historically robust educational offerings as well as its communications to inform and connect the regional and national biosolids sector and the communities they serve.  Additionally, MABA has rejuvenated and bolstered its membership, thus increasing its financial growth and stability.  The leadership has worked diligently to ensure MABA is aware of and engaged in up-to-date scientific, regulatory and legislative developments and likewise able to communicate this key information to its members on a regular basis. Furthermore, they have led the charge to create a new sister organization, the Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Foundation, with a focus on education and research, to broaden the reach and capabilities in the future.

MABA’s developments could be described as exceptional, momentous, or even, powerful.  And with this great power comes great responsibility.  And whether you ascribe to the proverb of the Spider-Man (or Marvel) universe, or rather to one of the more ancient accounts of the sentiment from the story of the Sword of Damocles, the meaning remains much the same - “power cannot simply be enjoyed for its privileges alone but necessarily makes its holders morally responsible both for what they choose to do with it and for what they fail to do with it.”

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There are great responsibilities on board for MABA, and the MABA members will be key in stepping up and sharing their interest and availability to join the committees and focus group.  Some of the initiatives taking place include:

  • The Membership Committee will work to connect with current members and reach out to the prospects.  

  • The Regulatory/Legislative Committee will work in keeping an ear to the ground of the regulatory and legislative occurrences in the region.  

  • The PFAS Focus Group will focus on new information to share and involvement in crucial PFAS research projects.

  • The Communications Committee will work to bring the MABA booth to regional conferences, and to create new fact sheets and other valuable information for members.

The Mid-Atlantic Biosolids Foundation (MABF) will pose a critical challenge and opportunity in the year ahead.  MABF was created to provide an organization charged solely with education and research, and the communication of both to the biosolids sector and the community.  As the building of MABF begins, it is imperative that MABA members consider new roles within this organization.  Some of these include:

  • The Programming Committee

  • The Research Committee

  • The Community Education and Communication Committee

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There is no doubt that MABA and MABF are poised for a strong year ahead, and although there is no proverbial sword of Damocles dangling above, the responsibilities that accompany that strength might seem foreboding or invigorating.  The challenge and reward will be in making it the latter. 

If you are interested in learning more about MABA, MABF, and getting more involved, please reach out to me at [email protected] or 845-901-7905. 

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