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ERM-CC144: a new certified reference material to support element analysis in sewage sludge

5 December 2016

JRC-Geel has released a new sewage sludge certified reference material (ERM®-CC144), certified for the mass fraction of the total and aqua regia extractable content of As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn. This material can help laboratories to assess the impact of sewage sludge application on farmland. 

Treated sewage sludge, either of industrial or domestic origin, has been increasingly used on farmland, mostly for its high fertilising properties. Application of sewage sludge to agricultural land partially solves the problem of sewage sludge disposal after production, but also leads to contamination of soil and groundwater by inorganic (and organic) pollutants present in the sludge. 
The EU Directive 86/278/EEC (1986) and its recent implementations, regulates the use of sewage sludge in agriculture disposal so as to prevent harmful effects on soil, vegetation, animals and humans. Aiming at a correct management of the sludge from sewage treatment plants, the EU regulation prohibits farmland disposal of sludge unless specific requirements are fulfilled, including compliance with limit values for concentrations of a range of trace elements. 
Laboratories may determine the total content of trace elements or, as preferred by several EU Member States, evaluate the aqua regia extractable content of the elements. 
In this respect, the certification of the material was performed for both total and aqua regia extractable content (according to ISO 11466:1995 and ISO 12914:2012) of As, Cd, Co, Cr, Cu, Fe, Hg, Mn, Ni, Pb and Zn. 
The certified reference material ERM®-CC144 has been processed and certified in accordance to ISO Guides 34 and 35 and it is intended to replace the old BCR-144R (sewage sludge of domestic origin) as a useful quality control tool for the laboratories involved in element determinations in sewage sludge or similar matrices. 
The certified reference material ERM®-CC144 is primarily intended for method performance control and validation purposes (e.g. trueness estimation). 
Details about material sampling, processing and certification are described in detail in the certification report, available together with the certificate in the dedicated product page.

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