Biosolids (processed municipal sewage sludge and domestic septage)
Nontraditional Soil Amendments
BIOSOLIDS (PROCESSED MUNICIPAL SEWAGE SLUDGE AND DOMESTIC SEPTAGE)
Biosolids result from the stabilization of solid, mainly organic materials produced during the biological treatment of municipal wastewater or sewage. Biosolids also may refer to domestic septage, the solid material that is pumped from septic tanks. Depending on how they are processed, biosolids may be a dilute suspension of solids in water that is sprayed, dribbled, or injected into the soil; a cake-like material that is spread like manure; or a very dry granular or pelletized material. Biosolids are the most extensively regulated of any nontraditional soil amendment. Regulations pertaining to the use of biosolids as well as more complete information regarding biosolids production, characteristics, and agronomic usage are more fully explained in a series of four Penn State fact sheets titled Land Application of Sewage Sludge in Pennsylvania. The individual fact sheets in this series are subtitled A Plain English Tour of the Regulations; What Is Sewage Sludge and What Can Be Done With It?; Use of Biosolids in Crop Production; and Biosolids Quality. It is the responsibility of the biosolids producer and applicator, not the farmer, to ensure that all applicable regulations are followed. Nevertheless, farmers considering using biosolids should familiarize themselves with the regulations, with biosolids characteristics, and with recommendations and possible problems with agronomic use of biosolids.