Sunday, November 30, 2014

A New Way to Think about Poop


There has been recent debate about using human faeces for fertilizer. Centuries before, using poop to fertilize crops was common practice. However, after the introduction of synthetic fertilizers and the growing knowledge of public health, the practice fell away. Today, some city wastewater treatment plants are beginning to look at what constitutes real waste – as does the flush really mean the end of the line?

The City of Newberg utilizes a filtration system that cleans, separates, and sanitizes solid human waste. This left over ‘sludge’ ends up as the product that could potentially end up back on your plate. Grossed out? Don’t be. It’s a circular system that allows the food on your table to become processed by you, passed by you to the facility, processed by the facility, and then passed back into the food system and on your plate.

Through several scientifically sound testing mechanisms that involve layers of filtration, high heat, and sawdust Newberg’s solid waste ends up as organic compost perfect for smoothing around the spring garden and flower beds. It also sells at a fraction of the price of synthetic fertilizers and is considered totally organic. Good for the environment and your wallet? What do you think about that?

Want to find out more about what your city is doing, and to get involved in decisions on your city’s wastewater? Visit your municipal website and check out their links for sustainability.  Also, check out the next city meeting open to the public and ask what is happening in your local systems.

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