Mayor, LTU officials publicize the benefits of the biosolids program
LINCOLN, Neb. (Nebraska) – Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird and Lincoln Transportation and Utilities (LTU) officials said today that the latest expansion of Lincoln’s Biosolids Program will strengthen the city’s innovative efforts to deliver economic and environmental benefits from waste materials.
“This is another example of the city’s innovative approach to building a more resilient Lincoln,” said Mayor Gaylor Baird. “The expansion of the biosolids program reduces costs, helps the environment and supports the local economy. By joining forces with our partners in agriculture, our biosolids program enriches the future by enriching the soil and water on which our future depends.”
The Biosolids Program converts biosolids created by wastewater treatment into a dry, nutrient-rich, soil-like fertilizer for crops. Biosolids are valuable to the Lincoln community and surrounding area, LTU officials said, because they improve soils, increase water reuse efforts and divert material from landfill, where biosolids used to be deposited before the program .
LTU recently installed conversion equipment at the Northeast Water Resource Recovery Facility, 7000 N. 70th St., to match equipment already in use at the Theresa Street Water Resource Recovery Facility, 2400 Theresa St.
LTU director Liz Elliott said the project upgraded aging infrastructure and creates a material that is easier for agricultural producers to use that will expand the market for additional sales and use of dry biosolids to area farmers.
“The material we create is a more environmentally desirable product, reduces the use of synthetic fertilizers by our agricultural partners, and is easier for agricultural producers to apply to their crops,” said Elliott. “Working with dry biosolids versus a liquid form is also easier for our wastewater crewmates to manage at both of our facilities, and will avoid approximately $200,000 in material transportation costs annually.”
“A fourth-generation farmer told us he’s been able to reduce his use of synthetic fertilizers by 80 percent since he started incorporating our biosolids into the soil,” said Todd Boling, Lincoln Wastewater System Superintendent. “Liquid biosolids can only be used a few months of the year during the growing season. The program update offers farmers a way to use dry biosolids year-round.”
The Northeast Water Resource Recovery Facility generates 175,000 gallons of liquid biosolids per week, the equivalent of 500 acres of land to which dry biosolids are applied and a total of nearly 2,000 acres that the Lincoln Wastewater System can impact each year. Lincoln Wastewater System has nearly 90 agricultural partners and has applied biosolids to more than 37,000 acres of agricultural land since 1992.
The two wastewater facilities are estimated to bring in more than $40,000 annually in sales of the dry biosolids. All earnings earned are reinvested into the program. The expansion project took three and a half years to complete and has been in full operation since the beginning of December 2022.
For more information, visit lincoln.ne.gov/biosolids. For more information on purchasing biosolids, farmers and landowners can contact David Smith, Biosolids Coordinator at 402-441-6378 or email him at [email protected]
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