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 and test plots using Class B biosolids in establishing 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.

Three-year control tree grown without biosolids

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 inNorth 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.

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About Diane Garvey

Diane Garvey has over 20 years experience as an environmental engineer in the areas of wastewater engineering services and biosolids management. She is proficient in environmental planning, processing, quality control, permitting, marketing, public relations, and recycling. In addition to helping Water Quality Managers comply with State and Federal regulations, Garvey Resources, Inc. offers an array of services including biosolids management planning, permitting assistance, and public outreach and environmental education programs. We are also certified in nutrient and odor management planning.
This entry was posted in Agriculture, beneficial use, benefits to farmers, biosolids as fertilizer, biosolids management, Diane Garvey, disposal of biosolids, economic benefit, Garvey Resources, hybrid poplars, land application, mineland reclamation, recycling, service offered by Garvey Resources and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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