“Biosolids are a product of the wastewater treatment process of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) in which organic solids are settled out of water. The process converts the nutrients contained in the material into forms that plants can use.”

Biosolids are safe for use as a plant fertilizer. The USEPA and the Illinois EPA regulate the use of biosolids to protect both human health and the environment.

Biosolids can be used almost anywhere chemical fertilizer would be used, such as golf courses, athletic fields and recreational facilities.

Biosolids look and feel like dark fine textured topsoil. There may be a slight musty or ammonia odor due to the presence of sulfur and ammonia containing compounds which are both plant nutrients. The odor dissipates within a short while after application. Using “biosolids instead of chemical fertilizer can help improve and protect water quality as they are less likely than chemical fertilizer to release nutrients into sewers and streams.”

May areas have benefitted from biosolids including areas of the Cook County Forest Preserves, the Chicago River Walk and Hinsdale’s Veeck Park and now Northlake’s Centerpoint Preserve Park.  Approximately, 10 truckloads of biosoolids were spread over the grass areas of Centerpoint Park in October. The City plans on expanding the use of biosolids in other City parks and planting areas in order to reduce the use of chemical fertilizers.

The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District also makes biosolids available for residential use. Contact the MWRD for more information at 708-588-4201 or biosolids@MWRD.org.

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