Sanford, Maine Composts Biosolids
New $1.8 facility starts production in Fall 2016
As the first snowfall graced the landscape in December, Andre Brousseau, Superintendent of the Sanford, Maine Sewerage District, welcomed visitors to New England's newest biosolids composting facility. Consulting engineers, local public officials, other treatment facility leaders and operators, and the media were there to celebrate. Wastewater solids had been landfilled onsite for many years. With landfill space running out, Sanford elected to recycle the nutrients and organic matter by making a Class A biosolids compost. The first batch was ready to be showcased at the December 8th open house.
The compost facility consists of a 250+-foot 3-sided building that houses bays for sawdust and other compost feedstocks and numerous active composting heaps. Aerated static piles process equal parts wastewater solids, wood ash, and remix (previously composted solids) for 3 days at 55 degrees C or above, meeting Class A pathogen treatment standards and destroying trace chemical contaminants. Composting continues for the required additional 18 days. The product is then moved to static, outside curing piles where it is eventually tested before being marketed and distributed. The entire new facility is situated next to the Sanford treatment facility's oxidation ditches and lagoons (which are one of southern Maine's most famous birding sites).
Biosolids compost is a nutrient-rich, stable source of organic matter that benefits any soil. Compost increases carbon sequestration in soil, improves soil health and water holding capacity, and supports healthier crops with essential micronutrients. Biosolids composts sell for $5 to more than $40 per yard. They are consistent and are available in sufficient volumes to work for large landscaping projects, sports fields, golf courses, and other projects that require amendments that meet exacting standards.
Sanford biosolids compost is available for local residents to pick up at the facility. It is also marketed to landscapers, horticultural operations, and soil fabricators.
Much of the wastewater solids produced at Maine's wastewater treatment facilities is composted, and there are nearly 300 biosolids composting facilities around the U. S. Sanford joins a tradition dating back to research on static pile composting conducted by the U. S. Department of Agriculture in the 1970s.