Mid-Atlantic Biosolids 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.
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 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 4th Industrial Revolution is the new new thing. It is all about the IoT, or the “Internet of Things.” But what does that mean for biosolids? First, the biosolids industry needs to break out from the constraints imposed by 25-year-old regulation of century old technology.
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.