May 4, 2021 | AD & Biogas, Biosolids, Composting, Facilities

Biosolids Census — Is Your WRRF In The Count?

The National Biosolids Data Project (NBDP) launched its biosolids survey for water resource recovery facilities (WRRFs) in January.  And state biosolids coordinators have been providing state-by-state biosolids information. Data collection is ongoing, and to illustrate what has been learned so far, the NBDP introduced its new website. “Data and reports from several states are available now,” notes Ned Beecher, NBDP lead and Special Projects Manager for the North East Biosolids and Residuals Association (NEBRA). “More are being added, with a national summary expected in late spring.  Your state and WRRF will want to be a part of this biosolids census!”

The NBDP team is already gleaning data and trends from WRRF survey responses submitted to date:

  • What’s the biosolids recycling rate? Based on 2018 data (the most recent complete dataset), it looks like recycling remains at 50% to 60% of all biosolids generated.
  • What crops are grown with biosolids? Mostly hay/grass, including pasture and rangeland, as well as corn for animal feed, soybeans, and wheat.
  • How much green electricity is produced? Based on data reported by just 29 WRRFs to date, they are producing enough electricity to power more than 33,000 average U.S. homes each year!  And there are 20+ WRRFs that produce all the electricity they need.
  • What about program costs? Biosolids management is expensive and a core part of wastewater treatment.  Expected investments in the next five years in biosolids program infrastructure and operations at WRRFs that responded to the survey total over $4.5 billion.
  • Program pressures? Securing long-term biosolids use options. Also rising costs.

“Just imagine how much more will be learned when you add YOUR WRRFs data now,” urges Beecher. “This is the one and only National Biosolids Survey supporting the whole clean water and biosolids profession, freely providing data for all to use.  The NBDP is one-fifth of the way to reaching the goal of collecting 2018 data from about 1,500 U.S. treatment plants.”

As a thank you, the NBDP is offering a $100 gift card raffle for every 50 respondents. Details are in the survey. Participate — and  please forward to a WRRF colleague to do so.

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