10 Frequently Asked Questions About Biosolids

Biosolids are solid organic byproduct of purification systems that treat wastewater from homes and industries. They came from the residuals and solids that are left by wastewater processing and treatment of communities’ municipal and private wastewater. Biosolids are rich in nutrients and they can be recycled beneficially and used as a natural fertilizer or soil amendment to enhance the soil.

How are biosolids used?

They are primarily used as fertilizers to improve the quality of land for agricultural use and to increase the yield of crops. It can also reclaim strip mines, improve forestland, fertilize golf courses, and use as organic compost in home and community gardens.

How are biosolids made?

Wastewater treatment facilities clean and reclaim water from community systems through biological, chemical, and physical processes. After treatment treated, the solids that remain will undergo further treatment to eliminate pathogens and disease-causing organisms. The treatment will also reduce odor which will make it viable to be processed near a residential community.

What are the benefits of biosolids?

After complying with federal regulations and guidelines, recycled biosolids are excellent source of safe and organic fertilizers. It can improve water quality and provide topsoil for recreational uses.

What is the difference between biosolids and sewage sludge?

Biosolids are not sewage sludge, although some interchange these two terms. Sewage sludge includes untreated solids from wastewater even after municipal treatment while biosolids are treated to remove all pathogens and disease-causing organisms.

Do biosolids smell?

Yes, biosolids have odor. The treatment of sewage sludge in communities usually create public nuisance for local resident. However, there is a solution to this. If the biosolids have been properly treated and responsibly managed, odor will not pose an issue.

Are biosolids safe?

For many decades, biosolids have been used as organic fertilizer. There is no known adverse effect of biosolids on human health. The elimination of pathogens and other disease-causing organisms has significantly reduced the threat it poses on humans.

Is it safe to eat food that have been grown using biosolids?

Definitely yes. Studies have shown that as long as the biosolids have been processed following federal regulations and guidelines, it is safe to use for food production.

Are there different classes of biosolids?

EPA has established a Class A and Class B biosolids. Class A biosolids contain no detectable level of pathogens while Class B biosolids are treated but have detectable level of biosolids.

Are biosolids being used in other countries?

Biosolids are widely used in Europe and China, as well as in other countries. Around 40 countries have participated in studying the effects and the benefits of biosolids management practices.

How are biosolids being transported?

Biosolids are transported through enclosed trucks to control odor and noise. After arriving in the site, the biosolids are directly applied to the land using tractors, irrigation system, tank wagons, and special application vehicles.

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