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    Safety Evaluation 0 4 Renovated Wastewater from a

    + c C P 8 5

    Poultry Processing Plant


    R e s 3 2 ' 3 ~ reports of the Office or Research and Developmerlt Li S E?. r2r i r rmtal Prctz:' cn Agency habe been groiJped into nine series These n i ~ e zr:ac :ate- gories .',?re estaDlishec to facilitate furtner development and a ~ p i , ; ~ : sn of en- Jiror'- z.;lral technology E1i;riraricn or traditional grouping Nas :;rscious/y plar; to foster iechncicgy transfer a r d a maximum interface i r , re :ields I ne - -e series are T

    Environmental Health Effects Research Environmental Protection Technology Ecological Research Environmental Monitoring Socioeconomic Environmental Studies Scierltific and Technical Assessment ReDorts ISTAP't Interagency Energy-Environment Research and Develol)r?nt

    Miscellaneous Reports Special ReDorts

    This r e m r t nas been assigned to the ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH EFZECTS RE- SEARCH series This series describes projects and studies relating to me toler- ances or man for unhealthful substances or conditions This work is ;merally assessed from a medical viewpoint including physiological or ps)cnological studies In addition to toxicology and other medical specialities study areas in- clude oiomedical instrumentation and health research techniques u : , ; r s ani- mals - but always with intended application to human health measures

    This document is available to the public through the National Technical Informa- tion Service, Springfield, Virginia 221 61.

  • EPA-600/1-79-030 August 1979


    Julian B. Andelman Graduate School of Public Health

    University of Pittsburgh Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261

    Grant Nos. R804286 & S803325

    Project Off iccrs

    Jack L. Witherow Industrial Pollution Control Division

    Industrial Environmental Research Laboratory Cincinnati, Ohio 45268


    Herbert R. Pahren Field Studies Division

    Health Effects Research Laboratory Cincinnati, Ohio 45268




    This report has been reviewed by the Health Effects Research Laboratory and the Industrial Environmental Research Laboratory, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and approved for publication. Approval does not signify that the contents necessarily reflect the views and policies of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, nor does mention of trade names or commercial products constitute endorsement or recommendation for use.



    The U.S. Environmental P r o t e c t i o n Agency w a s c r e a t e d because of i n c r e a s - i n g p u b l i c and government concern about t h e dangers of p o l l u t i o n t o t h e h e a l t h and w e l f a r e of t h e American people . Noxious a i r , f o u l water, and s p o i l e d l a n d a r e t r a g i c tes t imony t o t h e d e t e r i o r a t i o n of o u r n a t i o n a l environment . The complexi ty of t h a t environment and t h e i n t e r p l a y between i t s components re- q u i r e a c o n c e n t r a t e d and i n t e g r a t e d a t t a c k on t h e problem.

    Research and development i s t h a t n e c e s s a r y f i r s t s t e p i n problem s o l u t i o n and i t i n v o l v e s d e f i n i n g t h e problem, measuring i t s impact , and s e a r c h i n g f o r s o l u t i o n s . To t h a t end, t h e I n d u s t r i a l Environmental Research Labora tory assists i n deve loping and demonst ra t ing new and improved methodologies t h a t w i l l p r o v i d e more e f f i c i e n t and economical p o l l u t i o n c o n t r o l methods. Con- s i d e r a b l e e f f o r t i s e x e r t e d i n deve loping i n d u s t r i a l w a s t e r e c y c l e sys tems which w i l l r educe p o l l u t i o n and conserve o u r n a t u r a l r e s o u r c e s . miss ion of t h e H e a l t h E f f e c t s Research Labora tory is t o p r o v i d e a sound h e a l t h e f f e c t s d a t a b a s e i n s u p p o r t of t h e r e g u l a t o r y a c t i v i t i e s of t h e U.S. Environ- mental P r o t e c t i o n Agency. HERL conducts a r e s e a r c h program t o i d e n t i f y , c h a r a c t e r i z e , and q u a n t i t a t e harmful e f f e c t s of p o l l u t a n t s t h a t may r e s u l t from exposure t o chemica l , p h y s i c a l , o r b i o l o g i c a l a g e n t s found i n t h e environ- ment. I n a d d i t i o n t o t h e v a l u a b l e h e a l t h i n f o r m a t i o n g e n e r a t e d by t h e s e a c t i v i t i e s , new r e s e a r c h t e c h n i q u e s and methods are b e i n g developed t h a t con- t r i b u t e t o a b e t t e r u n d e r s t a n d i n g of human b iochemica l and p h y s i o l o g i c a l f u n c t i o n s , and how t h e s e f u n c t i o n s are a l t e r e d by low- leve l i n s u l t s .

    The pr imary

    T h i s r e p o r t d e s c r i b e s a j o i n t r e s e a r c h e f f o r t by t h e two L a b o r a t o r i e s . A system w a s e v a l u a t e d whereby a p o u l t r y p r o c e s s i n g p l a n t could conserve water and reduce stream p o l l u t i o n w i t h o u t d e t e c t a b l e a d v e r s e e f f e c t s on t h e p o u l t r y product .

    David G. Stephan D i r e c t o r I n d u s t r i a l Environmental

    Research Labora tory

    R. John Garner D i r e c t o r H e a l t h E f f e c t s Research Labora tory



    Wastewater reuse is an important strategy in achieving the national goal of limiting discharges into navigable waters. However, in such reuse of water involving human consumption or exposure, such as in the food pro- cessing industry, it is mandatory that the health of the consumer be pro- tected. At the same time it is necessary for both the public and the appropriate professions to adjust their views and judgments on both the esthetic and technical aspects of such reuse. For example, the U.S, Depart- ment of Agriculture requires that water used i n most phases of food pro- cessing be potable. Traditional standards of potability, currently being revised, may not be sufficient to deal with the possible chemical modifica- tions and build-up of concentrations of these materials that can occur in recycle, particularly those for which health criteria may be unavailable.

    The reuse of wastewater, involving potential risk from human exposure, has been practiced in agriculture, such as in irrigation, the impoundment of water for recreational purposes, groundwater recharge, and even for domestic water supplies. The most notable example of the latter is Windhoek, South Africa, at which sewage was reclaimed for direct potable use starting in 1968. No such reuse of wastewater for potable purposes is, however, currently being practiced in the United States,

    The water reuse project reported here was designed to provide a safe and economical supplemental supply of water at and to a poultry processing plant, utilizing as its base an existing wastewater treatment system. Although not intended for direct human consumption, the renovated water, prior to its use in the poultry processing plant, must meet the highest standards of safety. Because of the general lack of experience in practic- ing and evaluating such water reuse, both existing standards of watei quality and, probably even more importantly, professional judgment are required to assure that this important criterion is met.



    A three-phase evaluation of reclaimed process wastewater for reuse was undertaken at the Sterling Processing Corporation plant in Oakland, Maryland. The main objective was to evaluate the safety for human consumption of poultry exposed during processing to an average 50 percent mixture of treated well water and reclaimed wastewater. To that end, a determination was made of the ability and reliability of the water reclamation system to deliver satis- factory quality water, and whether the processed poultry would have any excess microbiological or chemical constituents, harmful to human health, as a result of exposure to such water. After the renovation system was optimized (Phase l), a two-month study (Phase 2) was instituted, which simulated recycle of renovated water through the poultry plant. Chemical, physical, and micro- biological analyses were performed on various water, wastewater and poultry samples. An experimental chiller, filled with renavated water, was utilized to compare the uptake of such constituents by the processed birds with that resulting fromexposure to the chiller in the processing plant using the normally treated well water.

    With only a few exceptions, the mean and even maximum concentrations of the various measured constituents met existing U.S. standards for potable water. In the rare cases when they did not, such as a maximum value margin- ally exceeding a recommended limit for sulfate, even with direct consumption of the water there would be no danger to human health. There were increased concentrations of several chemical parameters compared to those in the normally-treated well water. However, this is to be expected in a recycle system, and the levels would not jeopardize the health and safety of the consumers of