Compost from the Sewer District

beankrom(7b)September 7, 2007

In the past we have used compost from the local sewer district. From what I understand the sewer district collects yard waste, tree and other things grinds them up into 3 different grades depending on the application then puts treated effluent on the wood chips then they compost for several months.

We want to add some compost to our yard and flower beds and I wanted to see what people's opinion is of it in an organic lawn. Our lawn is good shape but we want to level out a few areas and we've used the "poop" from the sewer district before in a "Scott's" yard.

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deerslayer(Z5 NE IL KBG)

Some people object to the heavy metals in sewage sludge products. All fertilizers, both organic and synthetic, contain some heavy metals. In fact, plants need some heavy metals, such as zinc and copper and molybdenum, for normal, healthy growth.

The amounts of heavy metals are extremely low in most sewage sludge products and are considered safe by the EPA. For example, Milorganite meets the EPA's "Exceptional Quality" criteria, which establishes the strictest concentration limits in the fertilizer industry for heavy metals.

Your sewer district should have information on the concentrations of heavy metals in their products. You may want to request a copy.

-Deerslayer

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 5:12PM
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the_virginian(Zone 7 NoVA)

The ever growing ranks of anti-biosolid zealots are long on "it might be a risk" or Europe's standards are lower, or "I just don't think it is safe" are quick to condemn products like Milorganite, yet they still fail to produce real hard data. For example, what they leave out is the load limit of some of these metals, such as copper and lead in class A and even class B biosoilds. You would need to apply Milorganite EVERY year or some other biosolid like it for 345 years for lead and 278 years for copper for it to reach its EPA load limit. That doesn't even account for organic binding, mineralization and leaching/migration of the metals harmlessly in the soil. I don't know about you, but even with long life in my family, I doubt I will be around that long to worry about it. I use Milorganite on everything and I have even seen the independent report and have spoken with an independent scientist who tested it for a bioremediation project for the DoD. She indicated it was lower in metals and other contaminants than the tap water and virgin soil they were going to use in the project. Compare class A biosoilds to Scott's or Ironite sometime and decide which will be better to put down as fertilizer for your kids or pets to play around. BTW, the National Science Foundation did an independent study and risk assessment in 1995 of EPA biosolids regulations and found they were far below any levels that would possibly pose any threat to humans, wildlife, soil or water and agriculture. The zealots seem to overlook this fact as well in their quest to malign well managed practices of biosolid use. There has NEVER been a documented case of the regulated use of biosolids causing harm to people, animals or plants in over 35 years of use in our environment-yet the myth and junk science persists. I will continue to use and benefit from Milorganite on my lawn, veggies, ornamentals like temperate tropicals and palm trees.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:41AM
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