VDACS Commissioner Talks Biosolids

At a recent Virginia Water Environment Association (VWEA) education seminar on biosolids Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Commissioner Joe Guthrie shared some of his perspectives on biosolids use in Virginia.

Commissioner Guthrie’s agency oversees the distribution and marketing permits for Exceptional Quality (Class A) biosolids. He shared an agricultural perspective on biosolids and provided a review of Virginia’s regulatory program.

Last year biosolids was used on 41,600 acres of farms and forests in Virginia. He said this is less than 1% of farm and forestland in Virginia. He highlighted some of the benefits of biosolids to farmers who choose to use biosolids, including soil health and increased productivity. He also shared some of the challenges, including a sometimes-difficult regulatory permitting process. DEQ provides oversight to the biosolids regulations in Virginia.

Since the conference focused on PFAS, Commissioner Guthrie said his agency will be following the lead of DEQ, and he said that DEQ is relying on the risk assessments and research currently being conducted by U.S. EPA.

The representatives of several Council members also presented at this educational conference, including Kendra Sveum of Loudoun Water; and, Mary Strawn, who presented on current activities at Arlington. Additional speakers included Dr. Linda Lee of Perdue University, who is conducting PFAS research studies funded by U.S. EPA.