The last 30 days at Smith Environmental have revolved around biosolids, MY FAVORITE TOPIC! They started with the WEF Residuals and Biosolids Conference in late May.
Lena Zeldozich, author of, The Other Dark Matter, The Science and Business of Turning Waste into Wealth and Health, was the Keynote Speaker.
I thought the WEF RBC was outstanding in every way. First, it was held in my hometown, Columbus, Ohio and hosted by the very capable member association the OWEA. The Co-Chairs Jason Tincu and Kathryn Crestani assembled a great team and, together with their team, they put together an excellent and informative program.
I was very busy during the conference attending as many technical presentations as possible while spending time with five manufacturers I represent that were exhibiting – Komline-Sanderson, Landia, Neutralox, Thermal Process Systems, and Tomorrow Water. It was great having them at the conference as all five of these companies bring innovative solutions to wastewater treatment and biosolids processing. Jon Liberzon from Tomorrow Water made an excellent presentation, “Cooking Without Gas”, about the benefits of thermal hydrolysis even when it’s not followed by anaerobic digestion.
For me, the overall theme of the conference was VALUE. How do we as an industry promote the value of biosolids? Currently we don’t treat biosolids like they have any value. Almost every wastewater treatment plant pays to have their biosolids taken off their plant. A large percentage of these plants are also paying to landfill their biosolids. What do we put in landfills? We put trash in them. When we put our biosolids in a landfill we’re treating them like they’re trash.
How do you create value in biosolids?
- Start by educating farmers on how biosolids can benefit them. The NPK of biosoilds will be attractive to them. But, they’ll get so much more. The organic material that comes with the nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium will help them restore their soil.
- Stabilize them. Highly stabilized biosolids typically are less odorous than ones that aren’t. Class A EQ biosolids are pathogen free, allowing for more flexible usage.
- Educate the public – Public perception of biosolids is very negative. There’s a lot of NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) when it comes to biosolids. Most think biosolids is another word for human excrement (POOP). Educating the public about the “greenness” of the land application of biosolids, and how it’s a powerful form of recycling, resource recovery, and reducing our carbon footprint.