California Utility Considers Using Phosphorous for Fertilizer
Encina Wastewater Authority tests cost-effectiveness of conversion of chemicals from biosolids into fertilizer
As reported by the Coast News, Encina Wastewater Authority is considering a project that would transform phosphorus and other harmful chemicals from biosolids into an environmentally friendly fertilizer to be sold commercially. Phosphorus, a nonrenewable resource that’s increasingly in short supply, is an important ingredient in fertilizer and thus is critical for farmers.
Phosphorus and other chemicals from biosolids build up in pipes and valves at Encina, reducing flow and occasionally causing blockages. This increases maintenance costs. Last year, Encina partnered with Ostara Nutrient Recovery Technologies, a private company, for a one-month trial study to investigate whether it’s cost effective to remove the chemicals from the pipes and convert them into fertilizer. The process involves running part of Encina’s waste stream through a holding tank, dousing it with magnesium chloride and passing it through a special type of reactor. Then the chemicals are transformed into fertilizer pellets for crops, plants and trees.
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