Waste from toilets, sinks and dishwashers turned into fertilizer

Waste from toilets, sinks, and dishwashers turned into fertilizer

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - The City of Cape Girardeau’s wastewater facility is turning waste from your sinks, toilets and washing machines into a reusable product that benefits the environment.

“We’re really excited about the beneficial use of it and avoiding the cost of just taking it to a landfill,” said the City of Cape Girardeau’s Public Works Director, Stan Polivick.

According to Polivick, the sludge or solid material that remains after the wastewater gets treated is being turned into Class A Biosolids or pellets. Those pellets are made to be used as fertilizer.

“Which could be on agricultural fields, could be on golf courses, could be on parks, could be on truck farms,” said Polivick.

He said the city’s wastewater facility is equipped with a massive dryer that turns the sludge into the pellets, that are safe to touch.

“You can put it on crops that might be consumed. If you put it on your tomatoes, you can eat the tomatoes,” he said.

A local gardener and owner of Sunny Hills Gardens and Florist, Paul Schnare, said organic fertilizer like the pellets works just as well as more well-known types.

“They have additional elements with it, and since it’s organic, it might add a few additional things to the soil that an inorganic fertilizer wouldn’t,” said Schnare.

According to Polivick, making this fertilizer also cuts down the costs of disposing of waste and helps the environment. If all goes well, he said they’ll only bring things pulled out of the wastewater like wipes and paper to the landfill from now on.

“Our mission is the beneficial reuse of the fertilizer, and that in itself will then help us reduce our operating expense. So we are excited to be out in front and doing something that provides beneficial use, provides a better use of our user fees," said Polivick.

He said they started making the final version of the pellets over the past for weeks, so it’s just the beginning. But one day, the department hopes to sell them. For now, a local golf course and wheat farmer will test the fertilizer out.

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