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Biosolids management has recently become an expensive part of wastewater reclamation in Southern California. Changes in local ordinances and public outcry for the ban of biosolids land application increased the need for local producers to meet a moving regulatory target and tight schedules. Due to the volatile nature of the acceptability of processed biosolids for land application, diversification of treatment alternatives is a necessity to ensure a successful longterm management practice. For larger producers, diversification is simple because of the amount of material produced. Smaller producers, however, cannot afford to provide diversification for solids processing and are left with the uncertain nature of “putting all your biosolids in one basket.”

A Biosolids Management alternatives evaluation report was developed for Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) to evaluate the estimated 25-year life cycle cost for four different alternatives. The alternatives selected for evaluation were: Pasteurization; using the Ecotherm process at each of the four EMWD water reclamation plants, Composting at Synagro's proposed Lamb's Canyon facility, Pelletization heat drying, Chemical Stabilization and Glasification using the Minergy Equipment.

Eastern Municipal Water District, alone would be required to commit all of the sludge production or a large portion of it to meet the minimum economical size for the installation of some of the alternatives identified in the study. Therefore, Eastern Municipal Water District invited additional Southern California Producers; Rancho California, Coachella Valley, Inland Empire Utilities Agency, Western Municipal Water District among others to joint in the development of the study.

The goal of regionalization of biosolids management practices is to allow these relatively small producers to enjoy the benefits of economy of scale without the sacrifice of committing to a single management practice that could significantly hinder the ability to provide adequate and economical treatment and reuse of biosolids in a changing regulatory and public acceptance environment.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2003-01-01

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