Environmental Benefits

When farmers choose to use biosolids it doesn’t just help the soil and improve crop yields, it also stores carbon while reducing our carbon footprint.  Biosolids have a dark, earthy color and contain carbon.  According to a study published in Applied Soil Ecology, the use of biosolids can change agricultural soils from prevalent Carbon-neutral to a Carbon sink which helps offset global CO2 emissions (Greenhouse gas).

Recycling biosolids on farms and forests in Virginia can offset greenhouse gas in the following ways:

  • Carbon added to soil stays there for a long time, which keeps some of the finite amount of carbon on earth and out of the atmosphere. Keeping the carbon in the soil is a form of carbon sequestration – one approach to mitigating some of the problems associated with climate change.
  • Using biosolids makes plants and trees grow bigger faster, allowing them to take more carbon out of the atmosphere via photosynthesis. These plants not only store carbon in their tissues but eventually they’ll drop leaves and branches on the soil surface, helping to store even more carbon in the soil.
  • Finally, when farmers choose to use biosolids they reduce their use of synthetic fertilizer. Synthetic fertilizer takes a tremendous amount of fossil fuel to manufacture. In contrast, the production of biosolids creates a source of energy. In many wastewater recycling facilities, gas is captured during the treatment process and used to power the operations instead of purchasing gas or electricity.