Gardening With Biosolids: Is It Safe?

Many experts advocate the use of biosolids in home gardening because of the natural nutrients that it contains. However, there are still those who look at it with disdain and reject the benefits that it offers because they believe it contains harmful toxins, so it shouldn’t be used around edibles. This view is antiquated, though, and people who don’t take the time to learn about biosolids lose the chance of gaining the benefits that it offers.

In a nutshell, this is what biosolids are and how they are processed. Biosolids is an organic material made from wastewater solids, which are everything we flush down the toilet or wash down the drains. These can be turned into biosolids if they are broken down by microorganisms. Excess water is drained and the solid material that remains are treated to remove pathogens and other contaminants.

The Food and Drug Administration said that properly treated manure or biosolids can be an effective fertilizer for home gardens and agricultural land. On the other hand, it is the untreated or improperly treated recontaminated manure or biosolids that could cause concern for public health because they might contain pathogens and other harmful chemicals that could enter the surface or ground water.

But once the quality of the biosolids has been secured, these organic fertilizers can add important nutrients to a vegetable or fruit garden. Biosolids have a rich supply of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, sulfur, magnesium, calcium, copper, and zinc, which are all beneficial elements for plants.

Though there is the risk of improperly treated biosolids getting into your garden soil, most biosolids these days are treated well and safe for use as compost because of the strict regulations of the state/s. When using biosolids, just make sure you know where they come from and how they were treated and which facility treated them. If you purchased the biosolids from your local wastewater treatment facility, they are most likely properly treated and carefully monitored for testing. Strict government standard and regulations ensure that locally available biosolids adhere to the safety standards.

Using biosolids for gardening and as compost requires that you follow general precautions like hand washing, wearing gloves, and using cleaning tools. You must also be careful when handling and storing any kind of manure or compost. But as long as biosolids are acquired from a reliable and monitored source, they are as safe or safer than chemical fertilizers.

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