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[GreenYes] biosolids for agriculture

We are working on expanding our sewage sludge / green material  composting pilot - you will be pleased to hear that the results of the  tests showed that grade B2 sludge has been "improved" to the final  product classification being A1A, suitable for immediate agricultural   release!
This is a great discussion on bio solids to agriculture  in other countries.
Hi Gerry and Neil, Yuyun, Gigie, and David

Thanx, appreciate the feedback...

Couple of points :

1) organic farmers are keen to use the material, but I was wondering what
obstacles they will face regarding certification of their farms as organic
2) of course, the heavy metals, etc is a concern - at this stage, we are
using old sludge that is coming out of a sewage works that does not serve
industry, so the contamination looks nice and low - we will of course find
the toxics when we do a trial with sewage that comes from heavily
industrialized inputs..
3) part of my plan (when we see these contaminants) is to use this as a
lever to get local government to get industry to clean up their act, as they
are contaminating what would be a useful resource for local food production,
so there is some method in my madness...
4) and yes, there has been discussion on the "peak phosphorous" issue here
too - one of the reasons to divert urine to agriculture too yes?
5) and where the toxic load is problematic, I was wondering if the work I
did years ago on bio-remediation (of course, removal at source will be what
we push for) may not apply here? i.e. the use of reeds, etc to take up the
heavy metals etc, and then get the relevant industry to take it back as
hazardous waste...

The various A1A, B2 etc are local classifications used by our governmenr
depts. To classify sewage - I shareall your concerns, but in a food deproved
world, where do we draw the line?

And is the case in many countries, the rich have wasteful flush toilets, and
the poor are being "given" urine diversion and pit toilets... and there are
cultural barriers to the urine diversion option, besides the fact that it is
a less dignified solution... my personal favourite? Decentralized
biodigestion of super low flush grey water fed toilets!!


Kind regards and hugs


-----Original Message-----
From: Gillespie Gerry [mailto:Gerry.Gillespie@no.address]
Sent: 16 August 2008 03:37
To: neil@no.address; muna@no.address
Cc: gaia-members@no.address; zwia@no.address
Subject: RE: [ZWIA] Re: compost made from sewage sludge and green material -
certification issues

Dear all,

There are many successful sewage sludge compost operations in Australia.

All the sewage sludge from Sydney is directly applied to farm land. I
would much rather see the product composted first as it will
dramatically reduce much of the contamination from organochlorins and a
vast array of the other products we ingest in support of the drug

In the process that Muna is suggesting the dissipative process of
combining the higher nutrient loading with the carbon base of green
waste will greatly reduce any residual contaminant.

Also keep in mind that the concerns regarding road run off may not even
be there unless your stormwater is directly connected to your sewage
system. If this is the case it would be a very unusual system for waste
water management.

Also in street sweeping compost trails conducted in Australia and New
Zealand many years ago one of the worst contaminants was lead - this has
now gone due to the change in lead free petrol - although it may have
been replaced by something even worse from catalytic converters.

Having said that, the reuse of sewage sludge and compost products in
agriculture will be inevitable in the very near future as we run out of
nutrients in our soils. If we look at the process of farming as a
nutrient flow, and that it takes between 60 to 90 mineral and trace
elements to grow plants and farming as a process in a mineral extractive

Dana Cordell of the University of Technology in Sydney recently finished
a pHD which discuss 'peak phosphorus'. Phosphorus, she says is needed in
the development of every cell and we will run out of extractable
quantities from guano mines and other sites within the next 30 to 50

This of course is based at least in part of the Justus von Liebig work
of the 1840s. Where having reduced plants to ash, he determined that you
only need replace phosphorus, potassium and nitrogen to grow healthy
plants, which is of course nonsense. You need the other 59 to 89 as

The only source for nutrients, apart from our existing soils and the sea
are waste streams. Food, yard waste and sewage are fundamental to these
supplies. Given that the Asians had been managing the production of food
for around 4000 years by returning wastes to the land, without the help
of chemical fertilisers, it is achievable.

Neil is absolutely correct in that we need to ensure that this material
free from heavy metals, medications and poison so Monsanto and the like
- but it is achievable. Both simple and complex technologies exist which
can readily achieve this.

We need the return of nutrient to agriculture to maintain human health.


-----Original Message-----
From: zwia@no.address [mailto:zwia@no.address] On Behalf Of
Neil Tangri
Sent: Saturday, 16 August 2008 1:10 AM
To: muna@no.address
Cc: gaia-members@no.address; zwia@no.address
Subject: [ZWIA] Re: compost made from sewage sludge and green material -
certification issues

Hi Muna,

I'm pleasantly surprised to hear that the sewage sludge has been tested
clean for agricultural use. Sewage sludge has been a real problem in a
lot of countries. While the major components are organic material, my
understanding is that it also tends to contain significant chemical
contamination, both from household wastewater as well as from street
runoff. The latest concern is the level of biologically active
pharmaceuticals in wastewater, which has been shown to be very high in
the US. I think there's still a debate as to whether this is because
people throw unused medication down the toilet or these are in fact
non-metabolized portions that have passed through people's bodies. Then
of course there are the chemicals used in the wastewater treatment
process itself.

So I'm not surprised that organic farmers want none of it. I'm curious
to know more about your sewage sludge operation, and how you treat it
for contamination.

all the best,


muna wrote:
> Hi all

> We are working on expanding our sewage sludge / green material
> composting pilot - you will be pleased to hear that the results of the

> tests showed that grade B2 sludge has been "improved" to the final
> product classification being A1A, suitable for immediate agricultural
> release!

> Now of course, we are expanding the volumes (as there are something
> 360 000 tons of sludge stockpile in one site alone, and up to 500 000
> tons of green material being dumped annually..

> However, it seems that the local organic certification bodies have
> issues with certifying the compost for organic agricultural use - is
> there anywhere where sewage sludge based compost has been certified

> Many thanks for you help, comrades!

> Hugz

> Muna
> >

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