However, the biosolid must be used judiciously. “If you put too much on you can burn (your lawn),” he said.
Earlier this year, the city board of public works authorized the purchase of a $50,000 windrow machine to paddle and mix the material into a finer texture.
“We just wanted to provide a higher-quality product,” Scheiter said.
The city charges $2 per cubic yard for the first biosolid yard and $1 for each additional yard. Quantities of 25 cubic yards or more – roughly a dump truck full, Scheiter said – are free if you bring your own truck.
Despite the low purchase price and giveaway to area agriculture, moving biosolids off the plant yard to lawns and farms also saves the city money, Scheiter said.
The city produces between 1,200 and 1,500 dry tons of the material annually and it all has to go somewhere. If farmers and residents didn’t use it the city would have to pay landfill disposal fees to dump it.
“If we didn’t spend money (buying) fly ash, we’d spend more money taking it to the landfill,” Scheiter said.
Recycling and avoiding the landfill is one of the environmental benefits touted by IDEM, Hartsock said, and there are economic advantages above saving the carrying cost to the dump.
“We’ve seen higher crop yields for the farmers,” Hartsock said.
Farmer Richard Buchanan heartily agreed as he loaded a semitrailer full of biosolid at the city’s treatment plant.
“We’ve been using this stuff every season for the past two years,” said Buchanan, who farms throughout Hancock County. “We use it on everything: corn, soybeans, wheat and hay – lots of hay. It boosts it pretty good.”
Buchanan said he applied the fertilizer to his wheat fields prior to the last spring snowfall, and when the snow melted, the crop immediately came out of the ground.
“This stuff is awesome,” Buchanan said. “And if you use it on your lawn it’s going to be amazing.”
Additionally, every time Buchanan and other farmers load a big truck of biosolid, they’re saving a truckload of money. A similar load of chicken manure would cost upward of $300, Buchanan said, adding that it wouldn’t smell nearly as nice.<< previous 1 2 3