Biosolids Classroom Blogs
Biosolids has poor public opinion. What if an advertising agency marketed biosolids the way they do Scotts fertilizer or kale? We need biosolids marketing.
I was literally stopped in my (running) tracks when Eric Haseltine in a TED Radio Hour podcast interview (Eric Haseltine: Can The Past Guide Us To Future Scientific Breakthroughs?) asserted that leaps forward in science come from those pre-eminent scientists who push the boundaries of established scientific knowledge. This struck a chord because I had picked up on some recent science stories about “boundary pushing” and realized I was quite vague in our own field of “biosolids science” just who is doing such “boundary pushing."
We are facing evidence of nitrogen and phosphorus releases, risks from persistent pollutants, the ongoing need to mitigate odor nuisances, the concern for antibiotic resistance gene migration, and the opportunity to restore soil health, to name a few big ones. Our industry’s integrity and reputation are at risk if we fail to support the level of scholarship that can apply current tools, knowledge and scientific skills to these topics and to questions reasonably posed by our customers and regulators. I say, the time has come for us to re-invest in science. If you do, prepare yourself for the many Surprises of Biosolids Science.
We confront a peculiar predicament. Some 14 billion years now into our history, humans still need to learn how to properly manage their own biosolids. We need to choose the right treatment technologies, the right soils, and the right tillage equipment if we are to avoid discharges of nutrients that stimulate cyanobacteria to produce biotoxins deadly to fish, cattle and maybe even humans.
We are seeing real team spirit in our wastewater community for solving the challenge to dewatering performance of Bio-P plants. Though it will certainly not yield a million-person street parade, like the Eagle's Super Bowl celebration in Philadelphia, someday we will rightfully celebrate a SOLID BIOSOLIDS PERFORMANCE!
We need to build upon the concepts of conservation agriculture and its amplification as “regenerative agriculture” to establish a new role for biosolids as a tool for building soil health in modern farming.
Top soil manufactured with biosolids is where we set our sights. Let's go back to those soil blends that Terry Logan and Billie Lindsay were designing twenty years ago, and let's jump onto those blends that Greg Evanylo has been testing over the past two years through his WE&RF High Quality Biosolids research. That is where biosolids lends its best features, particularly its phosphorus, where biosolids offers the most value, and where biosolids is “tops.” Let’s focus our biosolids programs on the manufacture of a Top Sustainable Top Soil.
We can dream big about how we build the biosolids infrastructure of our future cities, and to do so against shifting technology, uncertain finance, changing regulation, and political resistance. But our dreams may remain fantasies without the kind of support from our customers and from environmental activists who ought to be our allies, not opponents, needed to achieve clean water and better soils. To get to that wonderful place, we may need to dive into unfamiliar popular culture of gaming and movie making to draw in political and financial support.
The state-of-knowledge on wastewater and land treatment effects on ARG transmission is still early. Research today suggests that enhancement of treatment plant and land application practices can provide sound and effective barriers. If you make biosolids products that measure very low in indicator organisms and that attract no flies, you are likely doing well already. So, while climate change may continue to wreak havoc with rising sea levels, sulfide gases, unlivable heat, and crop failures, we can nevertheless be soundly managing our corner of the world. A global dystopia may inevitably descend, but at least we will be maintaining a Biosolids Utopia.
The Journal of Environmental Quality announced its "top two," 2016 JEQ Best Paper Award recipients. The TOP TWO issues can be helped solved by Biosolids. It can do so in its Class B, low cost form, but for disjointed programs, policies and priorities that interfere with biosolids use in P deficient areas.
In our biosolids world, very few of us have the goal for our biosolids to be “remarkable,” because the remarks are usually of the wrong kinds, and they go viral for the wrong reasons. That is what we need to change. We need to tell our “remarkable” stories, and we need positive viral results.
Some municipal solids waste landfills are developing, deep within, hot zones which pose serious concerns. Gas production subsides, liners are at risk, leachate becomes highly contaminated, and temperatures build. The cause is not known, but biosolids has been implicated. A national study is underway to better understand this pheonomenon.
Has the topic of perfluorinated substances recently come up on your radar? Here we share backround information about the compounds and current knowledge about their existance in biosolids and wastewater.
No mystery shrouds the task ahead for building public support for biosolids. We need to use basic biosolids communications and tell our story.
Arguments connecting biosolids land application to negative community health affects are misguided. What has science shown us about biosolids odors?
Training courses are popping up for all types of skill sets. How is the biosolids industry making educational opportunities available to biosolids professionals?