Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Biosolids as Agricultural Fertilizer?!?!?!?!

         ARE THEY SERIOUS?         

     Have you ever thought about farmers using biosolids (human waste) from sewage treatment plants to be used as sustainable agricultural fertilizer? Right off the bat, it sounds unsanitary and unthinkable, however, there are farmers that use it and think it's beneficial. Pharmaceuticals, steroids, flame-retardants, metals, hormones and human pathogens, among other things have been found in biosolids. The Environmental Protection Agency found more than 100 toxins in its January 2009 Targeted National Sewage Sludge Survey.



     Dr. Alan B. Rubin, a principal author of key E.P.A. biosolids regulations and a staunch biosolids proponent does say that living in proximity to biosolids may be uncomfortable, particularly for “health-sensitive” individuals. “I’m not saying that this causes illnesses like cancer, emphysema or cirrhosis or any other horrible disease,” he said. “But it is causing an impact on the quality of life.”



     Many individuals, especially many farmers, find pros in biosolids. People think of biosolids as nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage in a treatment facility. They believe that when treated and processed, these substances can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.
     They see a difference between biosolids and sewage slugde. Biosolids are treated sewage sludge. Biosolids are carefully treated and monitored and must be used according to regulatory requirements where they exist.


    
     Particular farmers think that after treatment and processing, biosolids can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth. In their opinion, the application of biosolids completes a natural cycle in the environment. By treating sewage sludge, the biosolids can be used as valuable fertilizer, instead of taking up space in a landfill or other disposal facilities. The application of biosolids reduces the need for chemical fertilizers. As more wastewater plants become capable of producing high quality biosolids, some farmers believe that there is an even greater opportunity to make use of this valuable resource.


     The general public are the potential stakeholders in this issue. We are the ones that have to purchase and eat what the farmers grow. They provide us with our food to live. In my opinion, we are very influenced by the western view of human waste as an unsanitary and disgusting nuisance. We can't imagaine biosolids and human waste even going near our foods, however, what we probably don't realize is that biosolids are quite beneficial to sustaining our agriculture. There has not been any sign of significant health risks as a result of using biosolids as fertilizer. The pros outweigh the cons in this situation and generally, biosolids are benefitting our society.


Sources:
http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/16/biosolids-and-human-health/
http://www.cwwa.ca/faqbiosolids_e.asp
http://www.nsfa-fane.ca/question-17-what-are-biosolids-and-can-i-use-them-fertilize-crops-my-land
http://www.ehow.com/list_6564077_fertilizers-used-farming.html
http://www.biosolidsinstitute.com/faqs/page3.shtml

Hyperlinks:

19 comments:

  1. I have to agree, that mentally, we're all affected. I too, think that no matter what, you can't 100% filter the wastes from the water...if its been contaminated....it's contaminated! Even though it's possible to separate them, mentally i still think it's dirty...which most human minds think the same. On the bright side, we are recycling and putting this waste to good use. We have lots of land, but i think that land and earth is for us to appreciate and enjoy, not to fill it up with wastes and permanently lose spots of beautiful land. Biosolids, even if they're not accepted, they're still used because it does have positive effects. Humanity produces too much waste, and it's not disposed of correctly (water bodies), which wastewater plants have to filter out. The whole process is yucky, because we know that poop and toxic substances are mixed in it and we do not want to consume any of it, but science is great, and can filter it, resulting in biosolids, which are great for plants.

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  2. I do agree Claudia's idea, so forth Dora's
    Yet I do have a concern on the biosolids, they are simply complex of C,H,O,S,P and so forth all the common elements in your body, there are no any radiative elements so if under goes the fermentation, the bonding will be break down to be simpler complex, or by the help of bacteria they might turn to what we need, the fertilizer. tho it might be a long process, or at least we should separate the organic waste from other domestic waste so as cultivating a suitable eco system among the organic waste,( the bacteria ecosystem )

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  3. Biosolids are great, I knew that they could be added to fertilizers, but hearing that they could possibly replace them is something else. Biosolids are a healthier choice for the environment, they do not harm the crops they are used on.

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  4. Hey Claudia! You have a great blog! It was insightful and informative! I agree with you, 100% about what you are saying. It makes a difference when someone compares biosolids that have been treated to actual sewage sludge. As I mentioned in my own blog, as well as my other comments, I believe that biosolids are a good use as fertilizer, as long as the biosolids have been treated and that they do not have a negative affect toward the general public and the environment. I also agree with you when you said that we are influenced by the western view of human waste as unsanitary and disgusting nuisance.

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  5. Hey Claudia!
    Your blog is amazing and was very enjoyable to read. It was also very informative and I have to agree with you. I think that biosolids are the way to go. At first, I had the same reaction as it being so gross, but learning that it goes through a process to be treated and purified, I was relieved. I also find biosolids very helpful to the environment as they are harmless to the environment and barely harmless to our health. I know like always there are health risks, but for now, I strongly agree that biosolids are great fertilizers.

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  6. Hey Claudia, nice blog.
    I agree that the benefits of using biosolids outweigh the disadvantages. I think those who oppose the use of biosolids have the "western" mentality that is too gross or unsanitary. All the waste we produce was once a part of the earth, so it would make sense if we gave it back instead of overfilling landfills. I liked how you pointed out that biosolids are "carefully treated and monitored according to rules and regulations". People are misinformed of the origins of biosolids and so they automatically consider it to be bad for their health. I think if more people were shown some of the points from your blog, they would be more open minded to the idea.

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  7. Hey Claudia!
    I really enjoyed reading your blog and I agree with you, the pros do out-weigh the cons in this situation.
    Not only has there not been any sign of significant health risks as a result of using biosolids as fertilizer, but, if we didn't use biosolids as fertilizer, it would just be sitting in landfills, or being dumped in our oceans.
    It is much better if we put our resources to good use.

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  8. Nice blog girl :) Yes there hasn't been any significant health risks as a result of using biosolids as fertilizer and thats why right now it is still benefiting our society. In biosolids there can be contamination following the build up of industrial waste and its true composition is unknown. But no one has been in harm yet so therefore, since the pros out-weigh the cons, biosolids is the right way to go!

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  9. Hey Claudia,

    Great blog, as usual. Informative and seemed well-researched. I agree with your side on biosolids as agriculture. I think that if we have a way to help the environment, cut costs, and do it safely, we should.

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  10. Great job Claudia! I think the issue of biosolids will be hard for society as a whole to adapt too. Many people accept biosolids and think of it as an advantage to crops, which turn out to be our food. At the same time, people find the product as 'unsanitary' and unhealthy. Others, like myself, am undecided. I see both pros and cons in biosolids. So far, there have been no significant health risks, and that itself is an important fact. Maybe biosolids are completely safe. Id that's the case, people just need to accept that biosolids can lead to more efficient fertilizers for farmers, and healthier food for all of us.

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  11. Good job Claudia! I really enjoyed reading your blog. Yes, I agree with you that farmers should use biosolids for their crops because it stimulates crop growth and helps reduce the amount of landfills. Yes, there is a stigma attached to human waste as unsanitary, which is true. Most people are unaware that the human waste is treated which makes it safe for the use of fertilizers. Personally, I would prefer the biosolids to be used as fertilizers instead of collected in landfill. As well, studies show that the crops are not negatively affected and give farmers a less costly option to fertilize their plants. Your blog was a pleasure to read, like always.

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  12. Great Blog Claudia! I really liked your blog. I enjoyed how your title was sure to grab the readers attention because all excessive puncjuation made it sound like it was an absurb topic and made me want to read more. I also enjoyed your visuals, especially the one with the sign ( No public Acess....). I must say that after reading your blog and completeing my reseach I definitley agree with your stance on biosolids. Thought at first, as you stated, the whole idea may seem strange and kind of gross, it really as a great step to take in helping sustain our planet. You used a lot specific facts in your blog to support your opinion which is really important. I love reading your blogs Claudia, they never fail to be informative and structured ( and help me with mine). Great work !

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  13. Bio Solids are amazing to what it can do to nature, but for some people the odor can be sometimes quite strong, even though some bio solids are said to be great for nature they still may have side effects like health hazards, through the process of bio solid, the bio solids maybe contaminated through the industrial waste, but oh well it doesn't mean that every bio solid used is contaminated , but you sure did give quite interesting details about this blog! thanks claudia!, its very impresive and well informed.

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  14. After reading the first paragraph, I was confused as to where your current stance was on bio solids. It sounded as though it was a horrible substance we should stay away from, but then it sounded like it is something that is essential to our modern lives. This brings up a debate as to whether or not bio solids should be still used. Your post was very insightful and brings up question for people to think about. Thanks Claudia.

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  15. Who would have thought that we'd be using our own waste to grow food,which would become waste again. I agree that the pros outweigh the cons. The problem with catching diseases and bacteria will be gone as we go futher into the future because we will create safer and cleaner ways to create biosolids. Great post.

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  16. Hey Claudia!
    Great bio blog, you made some interesting points, such as the fact that people could never imagine human waste going near their food, when in reality once treated it is really beneficial for plant growth. What people need to realize is that biosolids and sewage sludge are not the same thing, and that biosolids undergo extensive treatment and are carefully regulated, making them perfectly safe to use on crops.

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  17. nice post. Now you can use online directory services for bulk organic fertilizers import & export business.

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  18. Nice to read your article! I am looking forward to sharing your adventures and experiences.
    agricultural fertilizers

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