Although there is an effort to understand biosolids and the many benefits it offers communities, public acceptability remains the one hinder as to why this has not been utilized as widely as it should be. Expert opinions have backed the benefits of biosolids and why it should be okay for agricultural lands to use organic soil that has been treated by biosolids or treated sewage sludge.
However, there are a lot of concerns from the public, especially coming from those who do not understand how biosolids is treated and how it is regulated by the United States Environment Protection Agency (US EPA).
Odor and aesthetics
Two of the main reasons why communities may reject the construction of a biosolids application site near where they live are the odor and aesthetics. Since biosolids is derived primarily from domestic waste, it contains human and animal manure and other kinds of waste you find at home. Those who live downwind of a storage lagoon or spreading areas will complain about the odor of the site. The treatment and the transportation of biosolids can emit a bad odor that most communities will and can complain about.
The other thing that communities are concerned about is the aesthetics. How would it look like if you live near or beside a biosolids application site? The appearance of the facility may be very unpleasant and visually displeasing.
If communities can complain about odor and aesthetics, do you think it won’t complain about the health aspect of the land application of biosolids? There are many concerns about the possibility that biosolids can damage crop, livestock, and even the land itself. Instead of boosting crop production and enriching the land for agricultural use, there are many concerns that the opposite might happen and might result to a financial loss.
Furthermore, there are concerns that although no hazardous threat to health has been detected today, that doesn’t mean there won’t be new discoveries in the future. Such an “unanticipated” hazard is the reason why many communities frown at the idea of biosolids site.
These problems, though valid, can be managed and addressed by educating the communities about biosolids and the different methods it is managed. And though there are no guarantees made, those with experience on the use of fertilizers for agricultural land have reassured different communities that the benefits far outweigh the challenges.
Communities should also be assured by the standards and regulations set by government agencies on the proper use of biosolids.