In the United States, the application of Class B, Class A and Class A EQ biosolids are regulated at the local, state and/or federal level to ensure safe, beneficial use. Each jurisdiction has, to a certain extent, its own policies and regulations regarding application procedures which can vary, depending on the process utilized and characteristics of the end product (i.e. Class A, Class A EQ, Class B).

At the federal level, guidelines are set out by the by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA). Details of the regulations can be found under rule 40 CFR Part 503 (see Plain-English Guide to the Rule). To meet the regulatory requirements, the biosolids material has to undergo initial treatment to reduce pathogens and attractiveness to vectors. This rule also sets strict quality standards such as specified limits for metals in biosolids, site restriction, crop harvesting restrictions and monitoring.

Generally speaking, on a state-by-state basis, the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is responsible for overseeing programs that encourage the beneficial use of biosolids in a manner that protects public health and maintains or improves environmental quality.

In Canada, the regulations and guidelines for use of Class B biosolids is generally administered at the Provincial level. For example, in Ontario the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food & Rural Affairs works closely with the Ministry of the Environment to administer Ontario’s successful biosolids land application program. The practice is governed by provisions and regulations set out under the Ontario Water Resources Act, the Environmental Protection Act, and the Nutrient Management Act.

Once biosolids are converted into a pathogen free fertilizer that meets or exceeds the acceptable criteria for NPK and metals values, the product can be registered with the CFIA as a federally recognized fertilizer product. It can then be utilized in the same manner as any commercial fertilizer product. The difference is that, in some cases it can have the additional benefit of being high in organic matter, making it exceptionally beneficial for the soil.

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