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Biosolids News

 August 15, 2012 

NBP News 





WEF-NACWA File Amicus Briefs in Support of Municipal Agencies Legal Challenge to Biosolids Land Application Ban in Kern County, CA

WEF filed an amicus brief on August 9 with the California 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno to support several municipal agencies in Southern California in their legal challenge to a ban (known as Measure E) on land application of biosolids - City of Los Angeles, et al. v County of Kern. WEF offered their brief to provide the Court with a review of current science demonstrating the benefits and safety of recycling biosolids to land. The brief encourages the court to affirm an earlier injunction against land application restrictions initiated by Kern County. WEF previously participated in litigation over the Kern County ban in federal court back in 2008, although that case was ultimately dismissed on an unrelated legal technicality. The municipal plaintiffs then re-filed in state court and quickly obtained a preliminary injunction against the Kern County ban. The County is now challenging that injunction before a state appellate court. 


The National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA ) also filed a brief with the same California appeals court on August 9 supporting a number of Association member agencies from Southern California in a legal challenge to a discriminatory ban on land application of biosolids. The brief highlights the fact that land application is critical for many clean water utilities to meet their environmental and recycling mandates, especially in California, and provides a national perspective on the valuable role land application plays in biosolids management.  The brief also outlines the stringent regulatory process already in place to ensure land application is protective of both the environment and public health, and explains the significant harm clean water utilities around the country would suffer if inappropriate land application bans such as the one in Kern County are allowed to stand.


On August14 the 5th District Court of Appeal in Fresno accepted the NACWA and WEF briefs and issued an order requiring Kern’s response to be filed by Friday, August 24, 2012. 


July 25, 2012 Webcast Audio Link Available

The audio link for the NBP July 25 webcast “Compliance and Testing Requirements to Meet the Sewage Sludge Incineration MACT Standards - Part 2” is available for viewing by clicking here. Power Point PDF files can be viewed by clicking here.


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Around the Nation




ExeterPoplars Pull Double Duty for Eugene Public Works 

The August 15 Eugene, OR Register-Guard reported that a 400-acre poplar farm was created as a place to spread biosolids over the poplars at soil level. Planted in three phases since 2004, the fast-growing poplars are fed by Eugene-Springfield’s biosolids. The property sucks up 30 percent of the biosolids output of the two cities. First dreamt up in the late 1990s, the so-called “biocycle farm" was created with an initial expenditure of more than $5 million for land and irrigation systems by the Metropolitan Wastewater Management Commission, a division of the Public Works Department that levies local sewer fees. The agency is managed jointly by Eugene, Springfield and Lane County officials. The poplar farm helps resolve a space crunch for the agency. While local farmers take the majority of biosolids off the wastewater agency’s hands to use as free fertilizer on fields, there isn’t enough demand to utilize of the biosolids. The commission hopes to market the trees as timber that could be turned into wood products — picture frames, furniture and the like. That approach would yield a better sale price than if the trees have to be sold on the faltering wood-chips market. Full Story 

Colorado University-Boulder Awarded $780,000 by Bill Gates to Build Waterless, Solar-Powered Toilet  

The August 14 Boulder, CO Daily Camera reported that Bill Gates announced that his foundation is awarding researchers at the University of Colorado a $780,000 grant to build a waterless, solar-powered toilet. CU secured the grant through the "Reinvent the Toilet Challenge," which calls on scientists to come up with innovative sanitation solutions. CU engineering faculty member Karl Linden will lead the project that uses concentrated sunlight -- which is focused with a solar dish and concentrator -- to disinfect waste and produce biological charcoal, or biochar. The material can then replace chemical fertilizers. Full Story 

West Palm Beach, FL Prepares Tougher Rules on Fertilizer Use to Prevent Water Pollution  

The August 12 Palm Beach, FL Post reported that starting in October, the grass probably won't be greener in West Palm Beach. That's when a proposed ordinance restricting fertilizer use will take effect. Among other restrictions under the law, grass clippings can't be blown or swept into the street, where they might wash into storm drains. Fertilizer can't be applied within 10 feet of any water body, including canals, or when the National Weather Service issues a flood, tropical storm or hurricane warning or watch. The new ordinance will require commercial applicators -- anyone paid to apply fertilizer -- to complete a training program by Jan. 1, 2014 and carry with them "at all times when applying fertilizer" proof that they successfully completed the program. Full Story 

Bowling Green, KY Municipal Utilities Sludge Drying Delayed 

The August 1 Bowling Green, KY Daily News reported that a few glitches have delayed the start of Bowling Green Municipal Utilities’ (BGMU) new sludge drying operation, but if all goes well it should be up and running in a few weeks. The dried biosolids, about the size of fertilizer pellets, will be available for a few select farmers to spread on fields this fall. The project, including the new biosolids operation, has been under construction for three years at a cost of $54 million. Currently BGMU spends about $400,000 to send the sludge to a landfill. Once the drying operation is up and running, it won’t send any. For the first year, BGMU will likely only supply the biosolids that is used as a fertilizer to a few farmers. That way its use and effect on crops can be easily tracked. BGMU plans to later open the distribution to other farmers. Full Story 


Florence, OR Compost Program Favored

TheJuly 31 Eugene, OR Register-Guard reported that a short-lived Lane County grant program designed to help pay for local recycling projects — keeping waste out of the county’s Short Mountain landfill — will end on August 1 when the county commissioners decide what to do with the fund’s last $100,000. To the dismay of city of Eugene officials, who had hoped to win the grant allocation for a project of their own, the money is expected to go to the city of Florence for a project that would convert some of its treated wastewater residuals into Class A compost. The city hopes eventually to sell the compost to residents, thereby generating the money needed to cover the project’s operational costs. The lack of agricultural land near the city makes it difficult to sell the product in bulk to farmers, Florence public works director Mike Miller said.  Full Story  


Rhode Island Sludge Incinerator to Generate Electricity

The July 27 Providence, RI Journal reported that Woonsocket officials have approved a 10-year deal to turn Rhode Island wastewater into electricity. The Journal also reported that the city's Budget Commission on July 25 approved a deal with Synagro Technologies to generate the power at its sewage sludge incinerator, which takes in waste from across the region.  The company says it will spend about $10 million to install equipment that will use the heat from its sludge-burning plant to turn turbines that will generate power. The energy will be used to power the incinerator and any extra will be sold back to the city at the lowest available commercial rate. The deal also calls for Synagro to continue to burn Woonsocket's sludge for free.  


Municipal and Industrial Sludge Treatment and Odor Control: The Global Market

The May 31 PRNewswire reported on a new market research report analyzes the global market and developments in municipal and industrial wastewater sludge treatment equipment and wastewater/sludge-based odor control equipment. Despite representing only about 1% of total wastewater flows, sludge handling accounts for up to 50% of total treatment plant operating costs. Some industry participants estimate that the sludge treatment market represents more than 20% of the total water equipment market. Because of safety and nuisance issues, odor control has come to play an increasingly important role in the treatment and disposal of sludge and biosolids that accumulate during wastewater plant processes. Full Story  

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 WEFTEC 2012 Technical Program 

Thousands of water and wastewater professionals attend WEFTEC to learn, network, find out about new products and services, and earn continuing education credit and professional development hours (PDH). Cutting-edge technical sessions and workshops address topics including collection systems; membrane technologies; plant operations, treatment, and management; regulations and research; residuals and biosolids; water recycling, and more. To view the technical program, click here. For a summary of the many reasons why attending WEFTEC is extremely valuable, click here.


 View the WEFTEC 2012 Digital Conference Announcement!  or click on the program icon above. For more information on WEFTEC 2012, click here. Advance Registration will be accepted via mail, fax and phone through August 31, 2012. After August 31, individuals may register online only. Online registration will be available through the end of the conference.  To register, click here.

2013 WEF Residuals and Biosolids Specialty Conference 

 The 27th Annual WEF Residuals and Biosolids Conference will be held on May 5-8, 2013 at the Nashville, TN Convention Center. The theme of the conference is “Emerging Opportunities for Sustainable Resource Recovery.”  WEF’s Residuals and Biosolids Committee, in cooperation with the Kentucky-Tennessee Water Environment Association, is sponsoring the event. Registration information will be posted within the next few months. For more information, click here                                                                                                                                                                                  




WEFTEC 2012 Biosolids Workshops, Committee Meetings and Technical Sessions – New Orleans, LA Morial Convention Center

Pre-Conference Workshops 

Saturday, September 29 – 8:30 am-5:00 pm

W107: When Opportunity Knocks, How Can Municipalities and POTWs Partner With the Biofuels Industry
W110: Wetlands Restoration Through Wastewater Reuse and Biosolids Application: Assessment Related to St. Bernard and Orleans Parish Operating Demonstration Project                 


Sunday, September 30, 2012 8:30 am - 5:00 pm

W207: Biosolids 101: Fundamentals of Practice
W208: WEF/WERF Boosting Biogas-to-Energy: Jumping the Hurdles to Biogas Utilization                          


Biosolids Committee Meetings 

Residuals and Biosolids Committee Sustainable Residuals Use Subcommittee 

MCC, 281

10/01/2012 @ 2:00 P.M. 10/01/2012 @ 3:00 P.M.

Residuals and Biosolids Committee Bioenergy Technology Subcommittee 

MCC, 340, 341

10/02/2012 @ 7:30 A.M. 10/02/2012 @ 8:30 A.M.

Residuals and Biosolids Committee Carbon Resource Subcommittee 

MCC, 340, 341

10/02/2012 @ 8:30 A.M. 10/02/2012 @ 9:30 A.M.

Residuals and Biosolids Committee Specialty Conference Planning Subcommittee 

MCC, 275

10/02/2012 @ 10:00 A.M. 10/02/2012 @ 11:30 A.M.

Residuals and Biosolids Committee Outreach & Education Subcommittee 

MCC, 274

10/02/2012 @ 2:30 P.M. 10/02/2012 @ 3:30 P.M.

Residuals and Biosolids Committee 

MCC, 263

10/03/2012 @ 7:30 A.M. 10/03/2012 @ 8:30 A.M.


Biosolids Technical Sessions 

Monday, October 1 

1:30 – 5:00 pm 

Session 016 Pre‐Digestion


Tuesday, October 2 

8:30 am – 12:00 N 

Session 037 Thickening and Dewatering

Session 038 Boosting Digester Gas


Tuesday, October 2 

1:30 – 5:00 pm 

Session 061 An Integrated Approach to Air Permitting, Regulatory Planning, and Compliance Management

Session 062 Bioenergy From Biosolids: Opportunities and Challenges


Wednesday, October 3 

8:30 am – 12:00 N 

Session 074 Digestion and Sludge Minimization 

Session 080 Managing Your Gas 

Session 084 Thermal Processes


Wednesday, October 3 

1:30 – 5:00 pm 

Session 110 Biosolids as Resource

Session 111 Foam Control

Session 112 Anaerobic Digestion Modeling

NBP July 25, 2012 Webcast Audio Link Available

The audio link for the NBP July 25 webcast “Compliance and Testing Requirements to Meet the Sewage Sludge Incineration MACT Standards - Part 2” is available for viewing by clicking here. Power Point PDF files can be viewed by clicking here.


Past NBP Webcast Audio Links 


To view NBP webcast presentations, click here