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Sewage waste to farm fertiliser

The use of biosolids as fertilizer has been at the heart of much conversation in Western New York over the past few years. While some laud use of the material as an alternative to landfilling waste, others worry about its potential adverse effects on the environment.

North Tonawanda may be the next community in Niagara County to get in on the biosolids movement. The common council heard a presentation last week from representatives of Canadian company Lystek about the possibility of fitting the city's existing wastewater treatment plant with a system that would allow the plant to process biosolids from the waste they’re already taking in. The council will spend the next few weeks weighing Lystek’s offer.

“This is a game-changer. We get rid of 2,200 tons of sludge a year,” North Tonawanda Water/Wastewater Superintendent Bill Davignon said. “We can treat the sludge and make it into a usable, eco-friendly product.”

Biosolids are created when sewage sludge from wastewater treatment is processed and treated. The finished result is a nutrient-rich material that can be used to “maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth,” according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The materials coming in are monitored to ensure that they meet recyclability standards.

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