First off I wonder if Bill is talking about Municipal Solid Waste (MSW)
Compost as distinct from biosolids. BFI works in the area of MSW.
Sewage is dangerous for two reasons:
1.) Human pathogens- which are inherent
2.) Toxic element- heavy metals, dioxins- which are added along the way
The fear of sewage is instinctual and real! Biosolids, treated sewage, are
treated to remove or reduce pathogen. Many cities have active point source
pollutions programs that have pin-pointed and elimated the vast majority of
metals that are added to the waste water stream. The metals come mostly
"Clean" sludge should be our goal. Crusade against the companies and
individuals who contaminate the sludge- not against the sludge itself.
Night soil (old term for biosolids) has been an integral part of the
agricultural system for millenium- and still is used in many parts of the world.
We understand and respect the use of animal manures in agriculture. The
inclusion of human manure closes that leaky nutrient loop that takes from
the land, is consumed and then released into the environment (by burning, or
discharge into waterways).
Another fun way to think of this is your garbage disposal. We have,
inadvertantly, invented a system where we can put waste vegys and coffee
grounds down our sink, into the waste water, through the treatment plant and
then back onto the farmers fields to produce more crops. At least in those
towns that have a "beneficial reuse" program for their treated sewage
sludge. To bad we can't develop an in-home recycle tube that accepts cans
and glass and delivers them directly for reuse to the people who need it.
Food for thought!
Sustainability International, Inc.
Addressing Environmental and Agricultural Issues- Technically and Socially
420 Bluff Street Tel: (712) 258-6559
Sioux City, IA 51103 FAX: (712) 277-3848