Understanding the Beneficial Reuse of Biosolids in Bethel, OH

Have you ever wondered what happens to the water that leaves your home or workplace? Three decades ago, your city may have dumped this raw sewage into the nearest body of water. Fortunately, today, it travels to a wastewater treatment plant for recycling. Out of this process we get biosolids, which can be repurposed. Your local sanitation service makes possible this beneficial reuse of biosolids in Bethel, OH.

Since most Bethel, OH residents probably know little about this process, let’s review a few FAQs.

What are biosolids?

When sewage is treated at a facility, the process creates two materials: treated wastewater and biosolids. The organic materials generated in solid, semisolid or liquid form through this process are called biosolids. These materials are rich in nutrients and can be reused as fertilizer.  Depending on their level of treatment, biosolids are classified as either Class A or Class B. Class A biosolids have been treated more extensively and no longer contain any detectible levels of pathogens. Class B biosolids still contain pathogens and are therefore more restricted in their use.

You may also hear the term “sewage sludge.” This is not the same material. Biosolids are treated sewage sludge.

What does the treatment process involve?

When wastewater reaches a water treatment facility, the treatment process may have already begun. Some facilities are required to pre-treat their wastewater to ensure it is recyclable when it arrives at the treatment facility. Once it flows into the facility, it is cleaned through biological, chemical and physical processes which remove the solids. If the pH level needs to be adjusted to eliminate odors, the solids are treated with lime. All of these processes rid the water of bacteria, viruses and parasites.

Who regulates this process?

Ohio’s EPA Division of Drinking and Ground Waters (DDAGW) regulates public water systems. The state Division of Surface Water (DSW) regulates biosolids. Together, these departments determine what areas are protected as drinking water sources and enforce rules to ensure biosolids are not used in these areas.

How are biosolids used?

Biosolids are recycled as fertilizer. They improve soils and invigorate plant growth. Biosolids are used across the country in the following processes:

  • Farming: Biosolids stimulate the growth of agricultural crops, resulting in greater yield. These natural fertilizers reduce the need for chemical fertilizers. The nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, sulfur and zinc found in biosolids are healthy for crop growth. Biosolids reduce farming production costs and replenish depleted organic matter to much-used soil.
  • Mine reclamation: Abandoned mine sites often have little or no topsoil. Additionally, the soil at these sites often contains toxic substances. Biosolids reduce these substances and rejuvenate the soil.
  • Forestry: Tree growth is a slow process. Biosolids help stimulate timber growth, speeding up this process for more efficient tree harvesting and quicker replenishment.
  • Composting: Home gardens and lawns can benefit from biosolids. The material is easy to store and use, making it highly desirable for composting.

Where can I find more information about biosolids and water treatment?

If you would like additional information about the beneficial reuse of biosolids in Bethel, OH, contact the professionals at Gullett Sanitation Services Inc. today. Out water treatment experts would be happy to answer any questions you have.

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