Bio-Solids Used as Agricultural Fertilizer

In a landmark decision in 1992, the Federal Government banned dumping waste-water. Almost immediately rivers, lakes and bays nationwide saw an improvement in the quality and purity of the water. This improvement made many water areas safe again for recreational activities, swimming and fishing. However, with this change came an expensive and initially difficult process to remove the sludge and solid waste from the liquid. Many cities and municipalities were left with the only option of separating the solid waste, drying it and then placing it in a landfill or an incinerator. Recently there has been an increase in the number of cities that have made the decision to recycle the bio-solids by using the nutrient rich material as agricultural fertilizer.
Currently, approximately 50% of all bio-solids are being recycled to the land. This represents less than one percent of the farmland nationwide. It appears that the stigma associated with using human waste is beginning to diminish as use continues to increase. There are many safety concerns that have yet to be addressed; specifically the waste produced from American toilets includes anything and everything that is flushed down the toilet including bleach, household chemicals, pharmaceutical drugs and many more potentially harmful products. The EPA has therefore imposed treatment practices that include physical, chemical and biological processes to remove as many harmful chemicals as possible. Additionally, the EPA has provided regulation that places numerical limits for metals in biosolids, pathogen reduction standards and more recently limits on the concentration of dioxin and dioxin like compounds.
The end result is a cheaper alternative to chemical fertilizers for farmers and less costly placement by local governments as opposed to placing the material in landfills. However, there have been no conclusive long term studies on the use of this material for safety for humans, crops or the land. Recycling manure as fertilizer is nothing new for farmers, however, navigating the murky waters of municipal waste and EPA cleaning regulations is a relatively new frontier that is more recently becoming a major source of fertilization for the developed world. To remain as economically profitable as possible, Farmers must continually change with the markets demands. To receive current market interest rates and financing opportunities contact a Farm Plus Financial representative by calling us toll free 866-929-5585.