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Technology 2005 2nd Joint Specialty Conference for Sustainable Management of Water Quality Systems for the 21st Century: A Regional Approach to Sustainable Biosolids Management Solutions

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Ensuring cost-effective, sustainable, long-term biosolids management options is a significant issue for wastewater agencies throughout California and the United States. Public concern over the perceived risk of health impacts related to land application has led to numerous county-imposed restrictions or bans on land application. Changes in land-use patterns in nearby rural counties further threaten acreage that has been compatible with land application practices. Limited landfill capacity and mandated waste-diversion goals also restrict the ability of agencies to rely upon disposal as an option. In order to proactively approach a sustainable, cost effective, long-term biosolids management program, wastewater agencies must essentially “think outside the box” and embark on innovative programs that will allow for diversification of their programs.

Over the past several years, the consortium of Bay Area Clean Water Agencies (BACWA) has recognized the importance of having multiple options (with local-agency control) for alternative means of biosolids recycling or disposal. Based on the results of a preliminary survey circulated by the BACWA biosolids committee in the fall of 2003, it became evident that there was a significant interest by BACWA members to embark on studying the feasibility of joining together to develop a regional facility for sustainable biosolids management

The first phase (Phase I- Feasibility Study), which was completed in July 2004, evaluated a range of potential technologies, sites for facilities, and governance structures for implementation of a regional biosolids management program. The results of the study indicate that a Regional Biosolids Facility is feasible – three applicable technologies were identified and several specific available sites within the nine-county Bay Area could accommodate a regional facility utilizing the identified technologies. The committee then initiated the second phase (Phase II) to further investigate the identified technologies and sites, refine the cost estimates and develop governance and decision-making structures that could support the project through the facility planning and project development phases. Throughout this process, the loosely structured group has made decisions by consensus and has recognized and accommodated the needs of large and small agencies.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2005

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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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