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Biosolids in Australia

Australia has experimented with biosolids solutions over the past 20 years and in the process has earned an excellent global reputation for biosolids management.

Currently in Australia over 80% of total biosolids are applied to land as fertilizer. (In contrast, while land application of biosolids in Canada is growing, it currently amounts to about 33%). How Australia arrived at such a high rate is an example for other countries to follow, as it did not happen overnight.biosolids-australia

Although disposal of biosolids in landfills is no longer an acceptable option in Australia, it once was. Additionally all but one of a number of Australian incinerators (used for burning of biosolids in the 1970s and 1980s) have closed down. In addition, a process designed to convert biosolids…

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Lystek International Inc. is an organic materials recovery firm. We were founded in 2000 at the University of Waterloo to help municipalities and others reduce waste, costs, odours and greenhouse gas emissions through an innovative approach to biosolids and organics management. Lystek is committed to beneficial use and diversion from landfill through the transformation of non-hazardous, organic material into nutrient rich “market ready” fertilizer products.

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It was only fifty years ago when thousands of North American cities dumped raw sewage directly into water bodies. A growing body of evidence on the risks of this practice to both human health and the environment led to a surge in legislation on water pollution.

The rapid proliferation of such regulatory controls on wastewater treatment plants (WWTPs) resulted in growing attention on alternative applications for biosolids generated in WTTPs .

A key North American regulatory reform occurred in 1972 when the US amended their Federal Water Pollution Control Act in order to place further restrictions on the discharge of wastewater to waterways whilst encouraging other disposal methods such as land application of biosolids. Biosolids are defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as “the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage sludge.”Further…

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By Kerri Jansen

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

The fields of corn and soybeans at Birmingham Farm, owned by Kansas City, Mo., look like the crops at any other farm.

But unlike most farmland, these fields are fertilized with biosolids produced by the city’s wastewater treatment process.Each year Birmingham Farm uses about 55,000 dry tons of biosolids, sometimes called “sewage sludge,” from the city’s main wastewater treatment plant, Blue River. Its history stretches back to the 1970s when the city first started applying biosolids from a smaller treatment plant to 300 acres of farmland. Sewage sludge turns a profit for Kansas City – Waste & Recycling News

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Given the recent interest and discussions in our Region on biosolids, this submission summarises more than a decade of Waterloo-based research on biosolids processing. The vision was to develop processes to make locally based, University of Waterloo spin-off, Lystek International Inc., into a global, industry leader in biosolids management. Achieving this goal required collaborative research between the University of Waterloo and other top Canadian researchers and Universities. Additional support provided by the Government of Canada, the Federation of Canadian Municipalities and various private industry partners….Waterloo Biosolids Processing Research and Technology Final

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For centuries, farmers have realized the benefits that animal manure have had on improving their soil fertility. In the 1920s, farmers began to use biosolids from wastewater treatment plants as a fertilizer supplement. Biosolids are the organic materials that have gone through the treatment process in a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) and subsequently been tested and deemed by regulators as suitable for beneficial use on land.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) defines biosolids as “nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. When treated and processed to the regulatory standards, these residuals can be safely recycled and applied as a fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.”

The US EPA has gone further as to prescribe recognized categories of biosolids that have been…

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Sustainable management has made many industries – both big and small- learn one key lesson. The key to being sustainable- both economically and environmentally- is to minimize material waste while maximizing the useful life of the same material.

In the growing interests of waste diversion, wastewater treatment plants across the globe are faced with the challenge of sustainably managing their plant’s residual biosolids and identifying key value streams to which they can better use their products.

Meanwhile governments across the world are incentivizing and calling for the need to switch to renewable energy sources driven by higher-than-ever global energy demands coupled with concerns around climate change and volatility in the fossil fuel market. (more…)

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Editorial Submission – December 2012

As chemical fertilizer supply is being depleted, the long-term security of our food supply demands that biolsolids be recycled as biofertilizer to meet the needs of sustainable agriculture. This practice is support by many scientific organizations and their government in the UK, the European Union and in the United States, all of which have all attested that there is no evidence that systems, regulations and practices implemented for use of biosolids in agriculture in these jurisdictions have had any negative affect on human health. Click here for the full submission

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