Sunday, June 5, 2011


After it goes down, what happens next?

 Many people probably don’t think about what happens to human waste when it gets flushed down the toilet.  It’s not the most current topic, and frankly, not one that many people find pleasure in talking about.  After being flushed down, human waste can be treated in a wastewater sewage facility and used for various agricultural activities such as:  for a fertilizer and for compost, i.e. it forms “biosolids”.  I know what you’re thinking, EW!  Why should my community invest in that?  Upon investigation, I’ve found that biosolids are very helpful.  Here’s why…

Shedding Some Light on Biosolids

Schematic illustration of a typical wastewater treatment process.
Biosolids contain micro-nutrients such as:  copper, phosphorus, iron, and zinc which are essential for healthy growth.  Biosolids are very useful as a fertilizer because they:  “reduce the need for regular fertilizers, reduce production costs, improve soil fertility, enhance soil structure, add organic matter that maintains good soil tilth and reduce soil erosion and runoff.”[1]  As you can see, biosolids are very good for plant growth.
Now that recently we are very conscious about the environment, it’s a huge upside that recycling biosolids helps promote this. Human wastes dumped in the ocean causes the reduction of oxygen in water due to the presence of nitrogen and amino acids.  This is bad for all marine life and algae are over-produced.  Also, recycling biosolids reduces the amount of human wastes in landfills which is great because less land is being wasted for landfills.     

If you’re worried about how healthy biosolids are, don’t, because they’ve been tested numerous times and are proven to be 100% safe and reliable.  They undergo rigorous treatments and are made sure to meet standards of Ontario’s Ministry of Environment.  In fact, in Ontario they’ve been used since the 1970s.  Because they’re so successful they have caught on globally as being noted for relizbility. 
Now don’t be afraid to ask the question you’ve to, the answer is, yes, they smell.  However, odour is reduced because biosolids are treated in anaerobic conditions (conditions with no air), so there are slight traces of smells.  Plus, odour is further reduced because of they are injected very deep into the field.  Biosolids can contain pollutants, but that only depends on what the everyday citizen drops down the drain.  When there’s less paint and biohazardous chemicals in the sewage, there are fewer pollutants in biosolids. 

This also brings us to another bonus of biosolids, there’s less fertilizer being used.  Fertilizer is good for plants, when used in moderation.  Fertilizers contain harmful elements that cause excess plant growth, and can harm humans over time when washed down sewages on rainy days.  Fertilizers also, like human wastes, minimize oxygen in the ocean therefore increasing algae growth and it can kill marine life.     

Royal Flush
As you can see, biosolids are very good for plants and can be an effective replacement for fertilizer.  So next time, don’t be afraid, BE PROUD!  FLUSH IT DOWN, knowing that you’re doing a good thing, and you’ve just helped make the environment a little healthier, and a plant, a little greener. 

-    "Sewage Biosolids: A Valuable Nutrient Source." Ontario: Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Ontario; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 07 Apr 2011. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <>.
-    "The Calgro Program - FAQ." The City of Calgary. The Calgro Program, 12 Nov 2010. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <;/>.
-    "FAQ." BioTech Agronomics. BioTech Agronomics, National Biosolids Partnership, 2006. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <>.
-    Bailey, Kenny. "Environmental Concerns With Fertilizer Use." NC State University; The Fertilizer Zone . NC State University, 25 Mar 1999. Web. 5 Jun 2011. <>.
-    Renner, Rebecca. "Sewage Sludge Pros and Cons.", 24 Oct 2000. Web. 5 Jun 2011.


* 500 words without titles exactly!*

Blogs I commented on:

[1] "Sewage Biosolids: A Valuable Nutrient Source." Ontario: Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs. Ontario; Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, 07 Apr 2011. Web. 5 Jun 2011.

1 comment:

  1. I like the pictures you used and the wording like "BE PROUD! FLUSH IT DOWN", these are helpful and make me want to continue reading, or put a smile on my face.

    The one thing I would have to disagree with is that all the testing of biosolids have come out 100% safe and reliable. In my research I had found contradicting information that biosolids could possibly post a hazard. For example the website : ( showed how hazardous materials could show up in these biosolids.

    Otherwise I agree biosolids would be a great way to fertilize agriculture while saving the environment.

    Great post!