New Fact Sheet on Dried Biosolids Distribution and Marketing

The Water Environment Federation, Residuals and Biosolids Committee, Bioenergy Technology Subcommittee, Thermal Drying Taskforce created a new fact sheet, based on a survey, regarding dried product marketing. Some observations follow;

Most of the dryers are in the eastern US and the highest density is in the mid Atlantic region.

Most dried biosolids are sold in bulk for agricultural use.  Only one respondent mentioned the product is sold as a specialty fertilizer.  PA Department of Agriculture definition; A specialty fertilizer is a fertilizer distributed for non-farm use and fertilizer material primarily intended to supply plant nutrients other than nitrogen, phosphate, and soluble potash. A commercial fertilizer distributed primarily for non-farm use, such as, but not limited to, use on home gardens, lawns, shrubbery, flowers, golf courses, municipal parks, cemeteries, greenhouses, and nurseries.

According to the PA Department of Agriculture regulations, you would not be allowed to register dried biosolids as a fertilizer because it is below the minimum concentrations of nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium.  It is surprising that only one product is a Specialty Fertilizer.  Maybe only one respondent thought to mention this.

Most respondents claimed to sell the product for between $1 and $20 per ton, 30% claimed more than $20 per ton and 15% paid for disposal.  Most generators have a backup plan for disposal when they can’t sell it all.

In addition to the lab analysis required for regulatory compliance, respondents monitored; additional pathogens and nutrients, odor, organic compounds and product temperature.  23% had to suspend distribution one or more times due to product quality.

In order to get new customers, generators rely mostly on staff to identify users, word of mouth and their website.

Most marketing programs required 2 years to become established but 33% required longer.

Most utilities rely on customers to handle transportation of the product and 23% provide delivery.

The complete 7 page fact sheet may be found on the WEF website.


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.
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