Innovative Land Application Project Using Hybrid Poplars
In response to an RFP to the Philadelphia Water Department, Garvey Resources assisted in the development and preparation of a proposal to use Class B biosolids to establish a tree farm on mined land in need of reclamation.
Biosolids were used as a sub-surface fertilizer to establish and support a vigorous stand of hybrid poplar trees. Hybrid poplars, a quick growing species, are receiving much interest as a green energy resource and as a tool that can be utilized in the reclamation of disturbed sites. An advantage over traditional means of biosolids land application is that this technique will significantly reduce the need for stockpiling and virtually eliminate any off-site odor issues related to incomplete incorporation.
Hybrid poplar use has recently expanded from past traditional use in windbreaks to producing wood/fiber/fuel products and to remediate contaminated sites and treat waste. These hybrids are also capable of using more water and nutrients, which make them ideal for waste management applications. Coal burning power plants are planning on using this means of rapid biomass production to earn carbon sequestration credits to offset emissions of greenhouse gases.
Garvey Resources worked with local environmental groups to distribute information about this innovative technique and to build public support early in the project. We also developed the plan for an Environmental Management System for this project.
Hybrid poplars are among the fastest growing tree species in North America. They are capable of accumulating enormous amounts of wood and biomass in a relatively short period of time. With proper care and selections of appropriate varieties, poplars can also sequester enormous amounts of carbon dioxide in a short period of time. Wood products manufactured from poplar trees can make this sequestration permanent. Poplars, for this reason, have received considerable attention as a potential tool to help combat global warming.
The ability to establish these trees as a useful crop may serve purposes beyond the restoration of mined lands. If trees can be used to restore mined land across the commonwealth, those businesses that rely on forestry resources may provide economic growth and development within the region. Furthermore, the potential for these trees to serve as a fuel resource in the production of power may help reduce the dependence on fossil fuels.
Abington Wastewater Treatment Plant- Biosolids Management Report
This study took a holistic approach to biosolids management decision making. Abington Wastewater Treatment Plant, located in a residential community in the Philadelphia suburbs, had been plagued with odor complaints and escalating cost
The comprehensive study evaluated digester operation and recommended operating and mechanical changes, evaluated bench test results of various dewatering equipment, identified and evaluated end use and disposal alternatives, conducted an odor audit and conceptual design of odor control equipment, estimated costs for digestion, dewatering and end use of the biosolids.
Some questions that were addressed in the report were: Does the cost of digestion offset the cost of downstream processing and end use or disposal? How can we eliminate odor complaints from the neighbors? Which is better: belt press or centrifuge dewatering?
A paper was co-authored with the client and presented at the 2000 WEF Residuals and Biosolids Specialty Conference.
Philadelphia Water Department
Garvey Resources conducted a study for the Philadelphia Water Department to evaluate the needs and potential revenue from a City operated septage and wastewater residuals receiving facility. The study included development of survey instruments, interviews, regulatory review, and economic projections.
During the course of this study, nearly 50 wastewater treatment plants in the Mid-Atlantic region were surveyed to determine trends in biosolids management alternatives, costs for contracted hauling, processing, end use and disposal. The study also identified the majority of facilities in the region that accept wastewater residuals in liquid or dewatered form, the quantities of material accepted, and the criteria for acceptance.
With our help, Waste Management & Processors, Inc (WMPI), who is a contractor for the Philadelphia Water Department, implemented an innovative technique for the beneficial use of Philadelphia’s biosolids. With the input of ERCO, Inc of Maryland, we have been using biosolids for the restoration of mined lands. In May and June of 2005, we planted 8 plots of Hybrid poplars at the Repplier Mine site in Schuylkill County. Mining at the site started over fifty years ago. At that time, the environmental regulations to reclaim mine land had not been developed. The previous owner left the site ungraded and un-reclaimed. The biosolids applied to this land contributes much needed organic matter as well as nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorous.
We have the responsibility, with the help of WMPI and Lehigh Engineers, of taking statistical data from all the plots in addition to testing the biosolids underneath the ground and the water quality at these sites.
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Biosolids and Septage Beneficial Use General Permits Reach Expiration Date
At this writing, the general permits: PAG-07, PAG-08 and PAG-09 are set to expire on April 2, 2014. These permits cover land application of septage, Class B biosolids and Exceptional Quality biosolids. PADEP planned to publish proposed changes to the Conditions of the General Permit in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. A 30 day comment period will follow and public hearings will be held if requested. At this writing, changes to the permits are not expected to be significant.
Keep informed about the latest biosolids news and trends by following Diane Garvey's Biosolids Blog.
Diane's most recent post is entitled Land Applier's Compliance Checklist.
News & Events
Diane Garveywill be attending the New York Water Environment Association (NYWEA) Annual Meeting and Exhibition on February 4 – 5, 2014 in New York City. Visit Diane at Booth #129, CLEAR FLO TECHNOLOGIES, Inc. where she will be answering questions about beneficial use of biosolids. Steve Macchio, Clear Flo’s owner, will also be on hand to answer questions.
Clear Flo Technologies is a non-hazardous wastewater disposal facility, which is currently accepting grease trap pumpings, stormwater, pre-approved industrial wastewater and leachate. Oil is recovered from the waste and used as fuel. Their website is www.clearflo.org. In the near future, Clear Flo will be accepting wastewater residuals and biosolids which will be dried to create natural pellets called Clean&Green. Read more about it at www.clean-n-green.org
SAVE THE DATE
The WEF Annual Residuals and Biosolids Conference will be held in Austin Convention Center, Austin, Texas. Conference dates are May 18 – 21, 2014, with the Exhibition on May 19 - 20, 2014. The theme this year is, “Sustainability Made Simple: Facilitating Resource Recovery.” This conference will highlight beneficial reuse options, science, and technologies currently available to help leverage biosolids as a valuable resource.
One preconference workshop has an especially timely topic: “You Just Can’t Hide a Biosolids Program! (But you can Communicate It…).” This workshop will provide an understanding of the critical importance of proactive communications regarding your biosolids management program, and an introduction to, and new ideas for, communicating biosolids messages, including working with the media. In today’s world of digital media, it is more important than ever for biosolids processors to plan ahead and be able to communicate online as well as through traditional methods.
Biosolids Committee Meeting
The next PWEA Biosolids Committee Meeting will tentatively be held at PennTec, mid-day on Tuesday, June 3rd at the Penn Stater Conference Center, State College PA. Check to confirm final arrangements for the meeting time and room.