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Biosolids Recycling Program: Providing farmers with organic fertilizer

Posted August 16, 2016 in Articles

The ReWa Biosolids Recycling Program is a sound way to put a valuable resource to work for our environment. With state of the art equipment, our Water Resource Recovery Facilities (WRRFs) reclaim safe organic material from the millions of gallons of wastewater that is cleaned daily. These nutrient-rich organics, called biosolids, can be beneficially reused as a natural and environmentally-sound fertilizer.

ReWa treats wastewater that is transported through subdistrict collection lines to ReWa trunk lines that flow to one of eight ReWa WRRFs; primary treatment of the wastewater separates and removes solids that settle or float before it is moved to secondary treatment. In the secondary process the wastewater is treated with beneficial bacteria. Once the wastewater reaches the secondary clarifier, the microorganisms are removed from the process and stabilized in a digester to prepare for land application. This nutrient-rich organic material is called biosolids. The biosolids are useful as organic fertilizers for agriculture, forestry, and soil improvement.

 

Used as an agricultural fertilizer, the biosolids produced by ReWa enhance crop production by improving soil fertility and organic content.  Area farmers collectively save hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by using biosolids instead of processed chemical fertilizers.

All biosolids recycling must meet strict quality standards established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (SCDHEC). These standards are based on long-term studies regarding the safety and effectiveness of biosolids. The US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration also encourage the beneficial use of biosolids.

 

ReWa’s biosolids program has met or exceeded federal, state, and local environmental standards for recycling of biosolids since the program began in 1989. A SCDHEC certified laboratory monitors all of ReWa’s biosolids.

 

ReWa recycles biosolids from its Durbin Creek, Georges Creek, Gilder Creek, Lower Reedy, Mauldin Road, and Piedmont Regional WRRFs. On an annual basis, 85% of the organics recovered by ReWa are recycled back into the local farming economy.

 

In 2010, ReWa was recognized by the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) for the implementation of the Biosolids Management Program. ReWa was the first agency in SC and 33rd in the Nation to receive this certification. ReWa was awarded Platinum level certification for this program in calendar year 2014