You may have heard and noticed that there is a continuous debate about the benefits of using biosolids compost as organic fertilizers and natural amendments for gardens, farms, and agricultural lands. Some experts agree that using biosolids can help the environment and that it is the solution to many of our waste problems. However, there is another school of thought that believes using biosolids can potentially harm the land because of the toxins it contains.
Is it really beneficial and prudent for us to use biosolids on our lands, our gardens, more specifically? Biosolids, in a nutshell, is an organic material that was sourced from wastewater solids. Essentially, these are waste, garbage that we flush down the toilet or the sink. This wastewater is then broken down into microorganisms. When excess water is drained, the solids remain. These solids are then heat-treated and processed to remove pathogens and other harmful toxins. This is what we now call biosolids.
The truth is, properly treated biosolids can be used as organic fertilizers. The Food and Drugs Administration ruled these as safe and effective. However, there is an emphasis needed to be made about the “proper treatment” of biosolids. Improperly treated, untreated, or recontaminated manure or biosolids can contain harmful toxins that will enter the surface or the ground waters. They may contain pathogens, which will then lead to a public health safety hazard that can contaminate produce and other food products.
Gardens, vegetable gardens or flower gardens, need nutrient-rich soil in order for the produce, the flowers, or the shrubs to grow and thrive. When treated properly, biosolids contain nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, copper, and zinc in balanced measure. These are all beneficial for plants, flowers, vegetations, and even shrubberies.
These days, most biosolids are safe to use and can even be beneficial for use as compost. If you want to start using biosolids as organic fertilizer, or as amendments to your garden soil or agricultural land, you need to make sure you are sourcing them from a regulated and quality treatment plants, facilities, or distributors.
If you will purchase biosolids from your local wastewater treatment plants, this means they are properly treated and carefully monitored. No component of biosolids can pass government regulations if they don’t follow proper rules and procedures. These biosolids must meet government safety standards before they become available for purchase.
Once you use biosolids compost for gardening, make sure that you follow safety guidelines and regulations such as hand washing, wearing gloves, and cleaning tools.