Friday, May 20, 2011

Biosolids as Fertilizer?!

Do you ever stop to wonder where your waste ends up? Many of us do not; but what if I told you that your waste is being used as sustainable agricultural fertilizer?

Now as disgusting as that may sound, human waste or Biosolids actually have great benefits, as I will discuss later in this blog, but first what are Biosolids?

Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage
sludge in a treatment facility. When Sludge has been treated and processed, the remains can be recycled and applied as fertilizers.

The formation of Biosolids:

First waste and various other materials from homes, businesses and factories enter into the sewage system. They then are transferred to sewage treatment facilities which generate the treatment of domestic wastewater in which biosolids are created. In many larger wastewater treatment systems, pre-treatment regulations require industrial facilities to pre-treat their wastewater to remove hazardous contaminants before it is sent to a wastewater treatment plant. Wastewater treatment facilities monitor incoming wastewater streams to ensure their ability to recycle and compatibility with the plant's treatment process. Once wastewater has reached the plant, the sewage goes through intricate physical, chemical, and biological processes to separate the water from the solids. If necessary the solids are treated with lime to raise the pH and reduce odour, which acts as a sanitizer to control pathogens which include such things as :

  • Disease-causing organisms
  • Certain bacteria
  • Viruses and parasites

Pros and Cons of Biosolids in sustainable agriculture:


  • Biosolids meet the strict quality criteria and application rates, and have been shown to produce significant improvements in crop growth and yield.

  • Biosolids have nutrients in them
  • such as: nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium and traces of calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, sulfur and zinc, which are necessary for crop production and growth.
  • The use of biosolids reduces the farmer's production costs and replenishes the organic matter that has been depleted over time.


  • It is feared that if Biosolids are not treated with proper care and delicacy it might pose as harmful to one’s health due to the presence of pathogens.

  • Biosolids can be contaminating due to the deposits of industrial waste.

  • Biosolids contain a strong distinct smell that might be bothersome to others.

We are greatly affected by the western views on human waste, however let it not cloud your judgement. Biosolids have many advantages which can truly benefits us and the environment. So why not give it a chance? we have nothing to lose and so much to gain.


Renewable Energy Crop With Biosolids." Upload & Share PowerPoint Presentations and Documents. Web. 20 May 2011.

"CWWA - FAQ - Biosolids." CWWA/ACEPU. Web. 20 May 2011.

Lee, Asba. "Fertilizers Used in Farming |" EHow. Web. 20 May 2011.

"Home | Biosolids | About Biosolids." Water Environment Federation: The Water Quality People. Web. 20 May 2011.