August 16, 2013:
At its August 15, 2013 board meeting, Beaver Municipal Solutions (BMS) entered into an agreement with the City of Edmonton to accept dewatered biosolids for land application project sites in Beaver County, to promote agricultural and bio-energy development.
The project has received approvals from Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development, and BMS is in the process of obtaining a tree-farming permit for the shrub willows, which will be part of the project.
Lone Willow Shrub in volunteer partner’s garden
A Growing Opportunity!
Beaver Municipal Solutions is planning to test the use of biosolids to improve the quality of marginal agricultural land in Beaver County. The project is a partnership with local landowners, the City of Edmontonand Sylvis Environmental.
WHAT ARE BIOSOLIDS?
Biosolids are what is left after waste is treated in municipal wastewater facilities. Once extra water is removed, biosolids look like clay. They are very rich in the nutrients and organic material needed for growing healthy crops. At a recent meeting, the Lamont County Agricultural Representative said that with the application of biosolids, formerly hard-pack soils became ‘fluffy.’
WHAT IS THE PROJECT?
The Biosolids Demonstration Project involves a one-time application of dewatered biosolids to poor-yield agricultural land. By comparing against control sites, the benefits are going to be measured. It’s expected that the results will show:
- improved plant yields,
- reduced need for chemical fertilizers, and
- new crop options such as shrub willows for use as bio-fuel.
WHERE WILL THE PROJECT BE LOCATED?
Local landowners have volunteered two sites within Beaver County – portions of S4-51-17-W4 and of NW-21-50-17-W4. The plan is to apply the biosolids this fall. In the spring of 2014, two crops will be planted on the land – one with wheat and the other with shrub willows. The sites will be monitored until 2017/18.
IS THIS A NEW IDEA?
Alberta farmers have been successfully using biosolids for many years, including many in Lamont County, but with a more watery product that took more truck trips to haul. This project will use de-watered biosolids and look at a variety of application rates to determine their effectiveness. This project will also look into the feasibility of growing willows in this area.
Ways to use waste as a resource, and not a problem, are being explored around the province. These projects are being looked at for their ability to improve the environment and/or create new market opportunities for communities.
If successful, the plan is to make biosolids available to producers in the County as a way to supplement fertilizer needs and condition the soil. As well, shrub willow will be introduced to the area as a bio-energy crop option.
WHY IS BMS DOING THIS?
The Biosolids Demonstration Project is part of Beaver Municipal Solution’s commitment to environmentally safe waste disposal and trying to find ways of diverting waste from landfills.
BMS is leading the way in looking for business opportunities that capitalize on the shift to seeing waste as a resource and returning value back to its member communities.
HOW CAN I GET MORE INFORMATION?
Beaver Municipal Solutions and Sylvis Environmental have been presenting information about the Biosolids Demontration Project to various groups in the region since the spring of this year.
Click on the links below to access copies of the presentations and other related materials or contact Beaver Municipal Solutions directly:
City of Edmonton Biosolids Land Application Program – January 2013 Proposal
City of Edmonton Dewatered Biosolids Land Application Program – Proposal Addendum August 2013
Beaver Municipal Solutions PowerPoint Presentation
Sylvis Environmental PowerPoint Presentation
Handout: Biosolids Demonstration Project: A Growing Opportunity
Photos: Short Rotation Coppice Willow
Handout: Land Reclamation Sylvis
Handout: Trace Elements Animal Manure & Biosolids (from Sylvis Environmental PP)
Handout: Biosolids Chemical Constituent Analysis
Paper: Screening for Salt Tolerance
Standard: Alberta Guide for Muni Wastewater Sludges