“This never goes out to anybody without having it tested,” he said.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management sets strict standards for biosolid fertilizers produced by municipal sewage treatment plants, and both distributors and large-scale agricultural applications require a state permit, said Amy Hartsock, IDEM public information officer.
“We want to make sure people understand that (IDEM) has extensive regulatory and safety requirements along with monitoring to ensure that the product is safe,” Hartsock said.
According to the section of the Indiana Administrative Code regulating land application of biosolids, one test benchmark for fecal coliform requires that levels not exceed a “most probable number” of 1,000 per gram of solid waste.
“Ours routinely comes back testing at zero to three,” Scheiter said.
Biosolid proponents, which include IDEM, Hartsock said, say the organic material boosts soil PH, decreasing the necessity of adding lime; improves water absorption and retention; and releases nutrients slowly as organic matter breaks down, providing a continuous source of food.
“The best thing about this is that it can be used to condition the soil,” Scheiter said, adding that working the matter into hard, clay fields will improve soil quality over time.
And it can be used on any soil, from large agricultural applications to local lawns and gardens.
Gardeners might want to shovel the material on and then till it in, but a fertilizer or lime spreader will do just fine for local lawns, Scheiter said.
“If you put it on (the lawn) at the right time, with a little of that and a little rain, it gives it a nice kick,” Scheiter said.<< previous 1 2 3 next >>