Using biosolids to fix cities

June 1, 2016 – The direct source of biosolids isn’t pretty. It’s processed human waste collected by the wastewater treatment plants. But, the Soil Science Society of America (SSSA) June 1 Soils Matter blog post explains that biosolids are actually one of the most scientifically studied products for use in agriculture and home gardens. And they are being used to fix industrial sites – and used productively in home gardens as well!
A plot from Hundal’s research about fixing old industrial sites with biosolids in Chicago, 2003. The former US Steel site is now remediated, thanks to the use of biosolids. Credit: L. Hundal.“Tacoma, Washington, was one of the leading cities in the use of biosolids,” says Lakhwinder Hundal. “The city’s product, Tagro, is classified as Class A – meaning ‘exceptional quality.’ Residents use it in their gardens with great success.”
Hundal is a soil scientist with the city of Chicago’s Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRDGC)
A key advantage to biosolids is their microbes. “Biosolids are teeming with microbial life,” says Hundal. “Healthy soils can have up to a billion soil microbes in one tablespoon of the soil. Because biosolids are generated from biological process, they are full of these beneficial microbes. Soil microbes help plants get the nutrients they need. And when worked into the dredged sediment of the Illinois River, biosolids helped us remediate the former US Steel industrial site in Chicago.”
To read the entire blog post, visit