The Benefits Of Reusing Municipal Biosolids In An Agricultural Farm

It is important to understand the vital role that biosolids play in the growth of an agricultural farm. For many centuries, farmers have been using animal manures to use on pastures and cropland. This helps in the fertility of the soil and even turns it into an organic soil. But in the 1920s, farmers discovered something else—the use of sludge from municipal wastewater treatment as soil fertilizers.

Thanks to years of scientific research, people began to understand that municipal biosolids can actually enrichen the soil because it contains valuable nutrients. They also found out that the same nutrients found in animal manure are also in the municipal sludge or biosolids. It is worth clarifying, though, that municipal sludge or biosolids are not raw sewage. Biosolids are organic solids that have been treated to stabilize the organic matter in it and reduce any organisms or pathogens that may harm the consumers.

Using biosolids in agricultural farms and ranches is being regulated by at least 503 regulations developed by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in 1993 after a decade of research. The scientific study on biosolids looked into the health risks that the components of biosolids can bring. The regulations set limit on the amount of metals and pathogens that can be traced in biosolids. These laws put in place certain conditions that biosolids must meet before they can be applied to the land.

Reduction of fertilizer costs

Fertilizers can be quite expensive, especially when used in large quantity over a huge swath of land. Biosolids have about 4 percent of nitrogen, which is released slowly over time. It also contains phosphorus and many micronutrients that are beneficial to the growth of the agricultural crops.

Instead of having to buy commercial fertilizers, you will save a lot by buying organic soil in bulk. Many industrial plants and water treatment facilities sell organic soil in the hopes of helping not only the environment, but also allowing farms and ranches to save on buying commercial-grade fertilizers.

However, farmers need to study the overuse of fertilizers, too. Too much of a good thing can harm the land and the animals living on it. The over application of biosolids can cause the release of excess nitrogen, which, in turn, can result to high nitrate concentrations in forage that can kill animals consuming the plants.

As with all organic matters, proper knowledge and application must be emphasized for the right use of organic soil for agricultural land.

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