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Biosolids a renewable resource too valuable to waste: WEF

Biosolids a renewable resource too valuable to waste: WEF

The Water Environment Federation’s (WEF) Board of Trustees has approved a revised position statement that calls for innovative and beneficial uses of biosolids. The statement expands on the Federation’s existing support of federally regulated land application by encouraging a comprehensive approach to wastewater treatment and solids management that ensures the recycling and recovery of all associated resources including water, nutrients, organic matter and energy.

“As a natural byproduct of wastewater treatment, WEF recognizes that biosolids is a renewable resource that is too valuable to waste given our growing needs for renewable energy and sustainability,” said WEF Executive Director Jeff Eger. “The adoption of this revised statement reflects WEF’s support of initiatives to ensure an expanded view of wastewater and solids management as well as our commitment to pursue innovation in water quality.”

WEF believes that a cultural move toward sustainability has the potential to shift policy-maker and public perception of biosolids from a waste to a community resource that can help achieve sustainability goals. This shift is creating unprecedented opportunities for the wastewater and biosolids community to position biosolids as a valuable commodity.

Also recognizing that biosolids recycling remains a local decision, WEF encourages the use of whatever associated practice—land application, composting, energy generation, product development, landfilling, incineration, or other uses—is best suited to a community’s economic and technological capabilities.

To take full advantage of the inherent resource value of biosolids, WEF supports development of multiagency coordinated regulations that are based on sound research and best practices; advancements, innovation, and development of new technologies; recognition of the expanded role of wastewater and solids management; enhanced sharing of knowledge both within the profession and with other organizations, the regulatory community, and the public; and continued research.

This position is consistent with decades of scientific research and years of field practice that have clearly established the value and environmental benefits of biosolids, when properly treated and managed. It is also consistent with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) position and those of other federal agencies, which encourage the beneficial use of biosolids through policies and regulations, including the Clean Water Act.