In Brief / en bref...
- Odor issue: In January, the village of Carlisle, Ohio experienced malodors when a local farm brought in heat-dried biosolids fertilizer produced in Massachusetts. As this television coverage reports, local officials recognized that the fertilizer presents no health concerns, but the odors upset the town. Local authorities have sued the farmer for the nuisance caused. NEFCO, the producer of the fertilizer, and NEBRA, have offered assistance and support in addressing the nuisance.
- Great NEW VIDEO / Biosolids communications done right: The Waterloo Region of Ontario learned how not to propose a biosolids recycling program and is now embarking on an innovative public consultation process. Read more - and be sure to watch the video.
- There's gold in them thar... wastewater: An article in Science and publicity from the Arizona State University sparked a flurry of media coverage this month, heightening public expectations of better things to do with wastewater solids: extract valuable metals. The reality is, of course, that, at this time, recovering such resources is not practical and cost effective, as an article about Calgary's biosolids program pointed out. "The downside to hyping this concept of gold in wastewater is that it distracts from the excellent resource recovery already being done by many wastewater treatment programs around the continent," notes Ned Beecher of NEBRA. "We're already extracting a lot of value: renewable energy, as well as nutrients and organic matter applied to soils. We don't need the public misled into thinking that their local wastewater treatment plant could pay its own way with gold in the sewers. Just the opposite: increased public investment is needed to just maintain the current infrastructure and quality we've all come to expect when we flush."
- Kern County, CA upate: The legal battle over Kern County's "Measure E" citizen ban on use of out-of-county biosolids continues, with a good chance of resolution later this year (Courthouse News coverage). The state judge in the case denied requests from both sides for summary judgements; he has now ordered the trial to proceed with full consideration of the substantive issues (Bakersfield Californian article). The California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA) stated that "The judge directed the parties to confer on a trial plan and return to court for a case management conference in early April. The preliminary injunction against Measure E that has been in place since 2006 remains in place. CASA and its co-plaintiffs look forward to proving at trial that recycling biosolids to farmland provides great environmental benefits for farms and municipal agencies, and to collecting attorney fees from Kern County for discriminating against out of county biosolids generators."
- Professional Composter Certification Coming Soon: The U. S. Composting Council Research and Education Foundation (CCREF) has received a $75,000 grant to develop a certification program for professional composters. According to the CCREF news release, "By 2017, compost facility operators can join other credentialed professions as Certified Professional Composters (CPC), escalating the profile of an industry that already has hundreds of facilities in the U.S. The 11th Hour Project, a program of the Schmidt Family Foundation, seeks projects that cultivate conservation of natural resources. 'This program will provide assurance to regulators, facility owners and the public that operators have the technical knowledge and skill sets necessary for the successful management of compost facilities,' said Ginny Black, Chair of the CCREF, which will manage the project."