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City of Baltimore's Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant – Biosolids Program How You Can Learn From Our Mistakes

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The Back River Wastewater Treatment Plant currently has a diversified, stable and successful biosolids management program; however this was not always the case. This paper will detail the operational problems, economics and numerous pitfalls, which led to the 1989 biosolids crisis at the Back River Plant. It was this failure that proved to be the catalyst needed to prompt the City of Baltimore to search for the long-term biosolids management solutions that are currently in place. The long-term solution needed to be reliable, independent of weather constraints and environmentally acceptable. The City decided upon a diversified program which included privatized heat drying and composting, supplemented with land application. This program, although more costly, was much more reliable and eliminated the need to store biosolids on the plant site. The lessons learned are that diversification is the key to a successful biosolids program and the least expensive alternatives are not always the best choice for success.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2003

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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