Biosolids or Sludge? What You Need to Know

If you ever speak to someone in the wastewater treatment industry, you’ll likely hear them use the terms biosolids and sludge. The professionals might even use the terms interchangeably. But that shouldn’t be the case—though they’re similar, biosolids and sludge aren’t the same.

Keep reading to learn how to tell the difference between biosolids and sludge.

What is sewage sludge?

Sludge is the solid or semisolid residue that results from the treatment of wastewater that’s released from homes, commercial buildings, street runoff and other sources. The two types of sludge are primary and secondary. Primary sludge is the settled solids that are removed from wastewater through sedimentation, while secondary sludge is the biomass that’s created through biological treatment.

Sludge can be full of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus, which are essential for high-quality fertilizers; however, sludge can also contain heavy metals that are horrible for the environment. Because of this, raw sludge shouldn’t be applied directly on land without being treated first.

What is a biosolid?

Now that we’ve covered sludge, let’s dive into the question, “What are biosolids?” Biosolids are the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved product created during sewage treatment that can be used as soil conditioners. They contain essential nutrients and organic matter that make them ideal fertilizers and soil additives.

Biosolid macronutrients include nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium and sulfur. Its micronutrients may include copper, zinc, calcium, magnesium, iron, boron and manganese.

So what’s the difference?

You know what biosolids are and what sewage sludge is. The best way to tell the difference between the two is to see whether the solids have gone through a full waste treatment process.

If the solids have been fully treated, the product is a safe biosolid that can be used as a fertilizer. But if it hasn’t been treated yet, the product is still considered sludge and is not safe to use.

Let us handle your sludge

Clearly, dealing with sludge isn’t a DIY chore. That’s why you should hire our pros at Gullett Sanitation Services, Inc. to remove it from your site. Here are a few reasons to work with us:

  • The best equipment: Proper sludge disposal is all about the equipment used in the process. We use industry-leading equipment to ensure your sludge is removed quickly, efficiently and as cleanly as possible. We also have a truck fleet comprising various sizes to tackle any sized project.
  • Fast service: You don’t want to wait for days to have your nasty sludge removed. When you hire our team, you can count on us showing up as fast as possible to dispose of your sludge.
  • Wide range of services: We’re proud to offer an array of services at Gullett Sanitation Services, Inc. We do it all, from sludge removal to biosolid consulting and residential septic repairs.

The choice is clear the next time you need someone to handle sludge removal or tackle any of your other wastewater treatment needs—hire our team at Gullett Sanitation Services, Inc. Call us today to set up an appointment or to learn more about how to tell the difference between biosolids and sludge.