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Biosolids

What are Biosolids?

Sewage biosolids are nutrient-rich materials that result from the treatment of municipal wastewater. The City of Barrie uses dual digestion to stabilize the biosolids. Once the biosolids are stabilized, they can be land applied in liquid form.  Biosolids contain nitrogen, phosphorus and organic matter as well as essential micro-nutrients such as copper, iron, molybdenum and zinc, all of which are important to improve or maintain soil quality.

When treated and processed, these residuals can be recycled and applied as fertilizer to improve and maintain productive soils and stimulate plant growth.

Biosolids Land Application

Land application of Biosolids is Provincially regulated under the Nutrient Management Act (NMA) and Environmental Protection Act (EPA).  All biosolids must meet the legislative standards before they can be applied to fields. 

Biosolids recycling offers an environmentally sound management alternative to disposal, by reducing the amount of material that would otherwise go to the landfill or incineration. When applied according to Best Management Practices, sewage biosolids will improve soil fertility and off-set the need for commercial fertilizers.  Biosolids also add organic matter to soil, enhancing soil structure, moisture retention and permeability; while reducing the potential for wind and water erosion. 

Benefits of Land Applying Biosolids

  • Improves soil quality and crop yields
  • Reduces the requirement for other fertilizers
  • Adds micronutrients and organic matter
  • Cost effectiveness for tax payers

What is a Non-Agricultural Source Material Plan?

Sewage biosolids are classified as a non-agricultural source material (NASM). 

Regulations established in the Nutrient Management Act and Environmental Protection Act for application of NASM, include set back distances (e.g. from surface water, groundwater and residences), odour requirements and land application requirements based on material quality.  These requirements are included in a NASM Plan required for fields where sewage biosolids will be applied, not just to livestock farms.

The preparation of the NASM plan also takes into account maximum application rates, sampling and analysis results to determine an application rate that is both agronomically sound, and protective of the environment and human health.  All NASM plans must be prepared by a certified NASM Plan Developer and approved by the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs.

For more information on Biosolids and Land Application of Biosolids, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs website.

Please contact the City of Barrie for more information regarding application of Municipal Sewage Biosolids and developing a NASM Plan.

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