Basics

What are Biosolids?
Biosolids are a nutrient-rich organic material that meets regulated standards for application to land as a fertilizer and soil conditioner. Biosolids are a byproduct of the wastewater treatment process. Because wastewater is collected from area industries as well as residences and businesses, the industries must meet discharge standards that protect the quality of the biosolids. Pathogen treatment and pollutant limitation requirements allow biosolids to be safely utilized as a resource.

Collaboration with area farmers has allowed almost all of the biosolids produced to be land-applied and recycled back into the soil with the remaining amount uses as landfill cover or stored at the Southwest Facility until it can also be land-applied when weather permits.

What is in Biosolids? 

  • Nitrogen - a plant essential nutrient.
  • Phosphorus - a plant essential nutrient.
  • Organic Matter - indirect benefit that enhances the availability of trace elements for plant uptake and helps control soil erosion.
  • Trace Metals - essential micro-nutrients important for plant growth and soil fertility (Cu, Fe, Mo, & Zn)
Biosolids Benefits and Production

The City of Springfield recycles its Biosolids back by Land Application.  This is a cost effective option and has beneficial properties for the farmer as well as the environment.  A good best management practice program will also protect the water quality.  The City produces a Class B Biosolid that meets or exceeds the EPA 40 CFR 503 strict regulations and quality standards for Land Application.  The State of Missouri and City of Springfield go beyond the EPA regulations complying with the University of Missouri Extension Center Water Quality standards for Biosolids.  
     
    
  Farmer Benefits 

  • Higher crop yields.
  • Slow release of nutrients throughout the growing season.
  • Approximately 3 years of life/application.
  • Supplies essential nutrients to crops (Nitrogen, Phosphorus, Potash).
  • Cost effective - saves farmer cost of buying commercial fertilizer.
  • Average Nutrients applied pounds/dry ton (45 PAN, 68 Phosphorus, 4 potash).
    
 Enviornmental Benefits

  • Helps prevent soil erosion through vigorous growth of vegetation.
  • Protects water quality through best management practices.
  • Saves diminishing landfill space.
  • Strict buffer zones to protect surface and groundwater.
  • Process produces a byproduct of methane gas that is captured for use to control plant process equipment that in turn reduces utility cost for plant operation.
SWCWP Effluent
Manure Expo 2014 Tour Handout
How are Biosolids Produced?

The City produces a Class B Biosolid that meets or exceeds the EPA 40 CFR 503 strict regulations and quality standards for Land Application.  Currently an average of 6000 dry tons of Biosolids are produced by the City of Springfield's Clean Water Plants. An average of 5500 dry tons is land applied on 3000 acres throughout the year following strict guideline from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR).  The State of Missouri and City of Springfield go beyond the EPA regulations complying with the University of Missouri Extension Center Water Quality standards for Biosolids.  The City also is a member of the WEF National Biosolids Partnership Best Management Practices program Bronze level. 
   
   More information on Biosolids production

Biosolids Land Application
Land application is the preferred method of disposal by the EPA for Biosolids.  

  • Adheres to strict regulatory requirements (buffer zones, reporting)
  • Soil sample for application rate adjustments
  •  Laboratory sampling of Biosolids
  • Farmer & neighbor assessment/notification of area prior to application
  • ~3 year life out of application
  • current 3 year average pounds/dry ton ( PAN 45.8, P 68.0, K 4.0)
Farm equipment applies the biosolids to fertilize the land.