Biosolids, a mixture of solid matter and treated effluent wastewater, are one of two end products of the domestic wastewater treatment process. The other end product is strictly treated effluent, also called reuse water.
Biosolids are routinely tested in the laboratory to determine the composition of the material. Those biosolids that satisfy federal and state treatment and stabilization requirements are recycled back into the environment as a soil conditioner through the land application process. The organic matter in the biosolids increases the soil's ability to capture and store water and provides additional nutrients for the vegetation. The use of biosolids reduces the quantity of waste taken to landfills, the need for chemical fertilizers and irrigation, improves the fertility of the soil and promotes recycling efforts. Land application of biosolids is restricted to agricultural land including but not limited to cattle/horse grazing, sod farms and ornamental foliage farms.
Land application sites must be permitted, and fees are collected based on the volume of bio-solids applied. Proposed land application sites are carefully evaluated before a permit is issued. The site must meet specific setback and characteristic requirements as well as county zoning restrictions. If the site and biosolids meet all requirements, a permit is issued for one year. Periodically throughout the year and at the time of permit renewal, inspections are made to assure the land spreading activity is being performed in a safe and environmentally sound manner, according to permit stipulations. In addition, nutrient loading rates are reviewed at the time of permit renewal.