The presence of organic pollutants in wastewater biosolids and their possible impact to the environment contribute to decrease interest for the agricultural spreading of biosolids. It is thus important to have a better overview of sewage sludge quality in terms of organic pollutant content and ecotoxicity assessment. It is also necessary to better understand the impact of biosolid composting processes on the pollutant and toxicity removal. Therefore, concentrations of oestrogens (E), nonyphenol ethoxylates (NPE), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB) and linear alkyl benzene sulphonates (LAS) and some of their associated toxic effects were determined at different stages of a composting process using, respectively, chemical analysis and in vitro bioassays (estrogen receptor α, dioxin receptor and pregnan X receptor reporter cell lines). Pollutants concentrations were higher in the final compost than in biosolid due to dry matter reduction through composting. Mass balance calculation shows a positive impact of the aerobic treatment on the removal of the most degradable pollutants. The three toxicological activities were measured in both biosolids and in the initial and final compost: oestrogenic activity increased whereas dioxin-like and pregnan X activities decreased. The difficulty in correlating chemical and toxicological results underlines the importance of combining both approaches in order to improve the assessment of the compost quality.

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