Biosolid Composting: Experiment in Kodiak
Lab tests released this week by Soil Control Lab show the experiment was a success. What was once toilet paper and human waste is now soil. Tests confirm the soil is sufficiently low in heavy metals and other potential toxins. It can now be used to grow flowers and vegetables.
The material used to make the soil would usually end up at the Kodiak Borough Landfill.
But the current load of soil is only an experiment to see if biosolids — the technical term for the main solid byproduct of sewage treatment — can be turned into dirt. The load of soil, composed of a week’s worth of biosolids, will probably produce only a couple of dump truck loads of soil in the coming spring when workers will screen out the woodchips used in the composting process.
After some number crunching and evaluation of public opinion the city will make decisions regarding the expansion of the project.
“We now want to find out if this is something the community wants,” plant supervisor Hap Heiberg said. “When I see people at Safeway they’ve been very supportive, and want to know how they can get compost.”
Heiberg said options for disposal of biosolids from the treatment plant include continuing to take them to the borough landfill, burning them, hauling them off island or composting. The city must now weigh the options.
He said Kodiak is now ahead of most Alaska communities in its water treatment because it invested in a secondary water treatment system. Most Alaska communities, including Anchorage, only send wastewater through a primary system.
To be placed on a list of people interested in receiving compost from the wastewater plant, e-mail Heiberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 486-8076.
Mirror writer Sam Friedman can be reached via e-mail at email@example.com.
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