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The use of biosolids has long been criticized, misrepresented and misunderstood. The fact is that there is over 40 years of factual, scientific history behind the use of biosolids. For example, the issue was studied by a panel from the National Research Council (NRC) and, in its final report, entitled Biosolids Applied to Land: Advancing Standards and Practices, released in July, 2002, the overriding message was that. “There is no documented scientific evidence that the Part 503 rule has failed to protect public health. “ In fairness, however, the report did also state that “additional scientific work is needed to reduce persistent uncertainty about the potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to biosolids.”

In the years since the 2002 National Academy study, research scientists and U. S. EPA have continued to evaluate the…

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On Saturday, September 26th as part of WEFTEC 2015, I am honoured to have been invited to join with a team of highly respected, seasoned biosolids management communications leaders to share our experiences and help facilitate an informative and exciting workshop. The workshop – You Can’t Hide a Biosolids Program! (But You Can Communicate It…) – will provide you with a distillation of over 20 years of experience and effective tools to gain or improve public support for your biosolids programs. This workshop closes the gap that can exist in biosolids programs between technical excellence and communications excellence. If you attend, you will gain an understanding of the critical importance of proactive communications regarding biosolids management programs, while learning from the recent experiences other program leaders have faced. This will build your confidence in…

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As populations in Canada and around the world continue to grow, more and more pressures are being put on communities (i.e. municipalities and other generators) of biosolid and residual “waste” to develop long-term, sustainable solutions for the management of these materials. These pressures range from concerns about pathogens, heavy metals, odours and Green House Gas emissions to the day-to-day operational logistics and costs of management.

At the same time, it is also well known and agreed that the global supply of phosphates, one of the key ingredients required to produce chemical fertilizers, are being rapidly depleted. This poses a very real threat to the long-term security of our global food supply. Within the industry itself, there has long been an understanding that biosolids and residuals can be successfully recycled as a way to meet…

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Land Application of Biosolids

As the raw materials required to create chemical fertilizers are being depleted, our food supply demands that biosolids be recycled as biofertilizer to meet the needs of sustainable agriculture. This practice is supported by leading scientific organizations and their governments in the UK, the European Union and North America.

With decades of practice and exhaustive analysis, all have attested that the properly processed landing application of biosolids has had no negative affect on human health. And at a time when the increasing cost of chemical fertilizers is eroding margins required for the ongoing and successful production of crops, advanced biofertilizer products are able to replace at least some of the nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) potassium (K) and organic matter our soils require to remain healthy without incurring further fertilizer input costs.


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  1. Improved Agricultural Output: Growing global food demands have put a huge strain on today’s ecosystems- driving unsustainable farming practices across various continents. Biosolids have been used to fertilize a variety of crops including feed corn, wheat, soybeans, hay and pasture. Agricultural use of biosolids, that meet strict quality criteria and application rates, has been shown to produce significant improvements in crop growth and yield. Nutrients found in biosolids, such as nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and trace elements such as calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulfur and zinc, are necessary for crop production and growth.
  2. Soil Improvement: The use of biosolids helps replenish organic matter which has been depleted over time. This same organic matter also helps promote aeration, improve the structure of soil and its ability to store moisture.
  3. Waste diversion from landfills: Over 10 million dry…
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In 2007, only 2.6 percent of the nearly 29.2 million metric tons of organic “waste” generated in North America was recovered, due to inefficient collection processes. Through heightened awareness and improved practices, progress has certainly been made since then. However, as populations continue to expand, so too does the sheer volume of residual material we have to deal with. Unfortunately, our current model is still predominantly based on a linear approach of production to consumption to disposal.

This continues to contribute and stress our existence, both environmentally and economically. Many of us have taken steps to Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle in our own homes and communities including proper recycling and through other methods of waste diversion but what about on a larger scale?? Can we implement the three R’s more effectively to reduce our impact…

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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 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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