Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage at a wastewater treatment facility.
What does BCWS do with biosolids?
Biosolids are a valuable resource and can be re-used as a soil conditioner and fertilizer. As such, some wastewater treatment utilities work with farmers and apply the nutrient-rich biosolids to agricultural fields. Historically, BCWS land-applied about 25% of its biosolids on local farm fields; the remaining biosolids were hauled to the landfill for disposal. In recent years, reduction in available farmland due to development, rising transportation and energy costs, and increased odors associated with biosolids as a result of new treatment techniques have limited our ability to land-apply biosolids in Butler County.
In 2007, BCWS decided to suspend its land application program and focus on cost reduction efforts while producing a quality product. Also in 2007, BCWS expanded a partnership with Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati (MSD) to transport and incinerate a portion of our biosolids at MSD ’s Little Miami Wastewater Treatment Plant; the remaining biosolids are still hauled to the landfill for disposal.
BCWS maintains strict quality control standards and complies with all applicable federal, state and local regulations when producing, transporting, and disposing of biosolids.
Environmental Management System (EMS)
In 2005, BCWS became the first utility in Ohio to achieve certification by the National Biosolids Partnership (NBP) for its Environmental Management System (EMS). While the certification was a tremendous learning experience, BCWS is no longer an active participant in the NBP program due to operational and budgetary constraints. Butler County benefited from the NBP process of continuous improvement as it relates to our wastewater treatment, biosolids management and overall utility management. We continue to use many tools and strategies that were developed as an outgrowth of our EMS certification. The Department continues to use the Partnership’s “Code of Good Practice” as guidance to manage biosolids in a manner that is: environmentally sound, technically feasible, cost effective, and socially acceptable.