Biosolids are organic byproducts that the facility sifts out of the biological treatment process. They create a soft, dark material that is rich in nutrients for plant life. SPR works with local farmers to apply this material on local wheat and corn fields to feed communities.
This natural fertilizer has several beneficial uses. it helps improve soil structure, provides a source of plant nutrients, and assists in the establishment of microfauna and microflora. The improved soil is less prone to hard setting, which in turn reduces soil erosion. The organic matter has an improved moisture holding capacity which is important in drought-prone areas.
The facility separates solid and liquid materials during the treatment process. Solids are blended in a mixing tank and pumped into anaerobic digesters where they naturally decompose. The digesters heat the solids up to 95F in order to destroy pathogens and stabilize the materials. They sit for 15 days before it is safe to release them.
Digested solids, now called biosolids, are pumped into centrifuges and drained of excess water. The finished biosolids product is approximately 18 percent solids and has a soil-like consistency.
Beneficial Use trucks drive to designated farmlands and unload the biosolids into an initial staging area. Special applicator equipment with GPS technology spreads the biosolids in the proper direction at the specific agronomic rate for the crop to be grown in the field.
Agriculture is an ideal environment for biosolids. Extensive research shows that biosolids are not a threat to human health when properly used. They contain a healthy amount of nitrogen and phosphorus, which add to the soil’s nutrients. Improved soil increases a crop’s ability to resist drought and disease.
Crops treated with biosolids contain a heartier grain content and increase crop yields by nearly 15 percent in some cases. Biosolids also offer cost savings to people compared to commercial fertilizers.
Colorado leads many states in its use of recycled biosolids. The state uses more than 85 percent of biosolids for agriculture, land reclamation on golf courses and forest land, nursery plants, and bringing vegetation back to abandoned mining areas. Only a small percentage of biosolids end up in landfills.
• Biosolids are applied on 9,098 acres of farmland per year
• We haul an average of 272 tons of biosolids per month
• Beneficial Use drivers haul 78 truckloads of biosolids per month
• We test metals and nutrients are tested each month annually test for organics, inorganics and radioactivity
• Research on biosolids has been presented at academic events in South Korea
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