The public opinion about biosolids continue to be a hot debate because of the many misconceptions about it. Generally, the public is a little bit apprehensive about accepting biosolids as organic fertilizers because of where it come from. But this is where all the myths about biosolids start—the lack of education about where biosolids come from, how they are treated, and where they are applied.
The most common misconception about biosolids is that it come from human and domestic waste. This is actually quite untrue. Biosolids are not the same as actual waste you find in your garbage cans. Biosolids are the dredge from the sewage system.
They are what remains from the sewage sludge after it has been filtered and drained of any liquid. Though there will be traces of human waste in them, most of these have been liquified and have been drained as part of the primary process.
There are also many treatments that put biosolids under a microscopic filtering and heating and drying and compacting. The treatments make sure that the sewage sludge will be free of all traces of pathogens and can then be turned into biosolids that will eventually get applied on agricultural lands, forestlands, farmlands, and mine sites.
The second misconception about biosolids is that its foul odor means it has not gotten rid of pathogens and other potentially harmful chemicals. This is completely false. Biosolids are bound to smell because they are made primarily with sewage sludge, which is a euphemistic term for waste that comes directly from households.
The smell does not indicate that the biosolids still contain human waste. Because it is organic, the treatment plants cannot mix the biosolids with any chemical that would help reduce the odor or make it more pleasant to the nose. To reduce the odor of the biosolids, the treatment process must include a drying or heat process that will take away the putrid smell.
It must be taken noted that industrial wastes cannot be treated to become biosolids. That being said, the fear that it contains hazardous chemicals and pathogens is the third and final misconception about biosolids. But because biosolids basically just come from domestic waste, it has less possibility of containing pathogens and harmful chemicals.
There are also three kinds of biosolids, with the Class A EQ containing almost no traces of pathogens and the Class A containing minimum traces of biosolids. Class B biosolids, on the other hand, have traces of pathogens, which is why they are not suitable for application involving crop production.