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The Great Lakes Region is blessed with a wealth of agricultural land where municipal biosolids, industrial and agricultural by-products may be used beneficially on agricultural land. Growing population in urban areas has concentrated the generation of organic wastes for processing. The “urban sprawl” into rural communities has brought conflicting community values face to face with farmers as they continue to expand the size of their operations, and soccer moms rush their kids to the next soccer game. There is growing interest by the public in the safety of the food and water supply, farming, and the local environmental issues. Many farmers find themselves in a minority, feeding much of the world yet representing a mere one percent of the population. There is growing concern in the agricultural community about the farmer's ability to conduct conventional agricultural practices amid suburbanite concerns of nuisance dust, odors, and noise. The beneficial use of municipal, industrial, and agricultural by-products on agricultural land has become increasingly difficult with growing suburbanite population and the expanded environmental controls they bring to the community. Nuisance issues often initiate public skepticism regarding the safety of recycling by-products to farmland. Being safe isn't good enough; by-products must visually appear and smell safe also. The mere perception of the by-product as a waste material often prohibits its use beneficially.

The Ohio Water Environment Association (OWEA) Residuals Committee was formed in 1999 to address the state wide and regional issues facing by-product use on land. The committee is currently developing programs to fulfill the following goals:

Promote the beneficial use of by-products on land.

Develop and maintain educational and profession development programs.

Facilitate delegation of 40 CFR Part 503 enforcement responsibility to states.

Facilitate development of rules and professional standards for by-product land application.

The committee has currently undertaken four major tasks since 1999: a demonstration plot area at a farm show, the formation of a regional biosolid partnership, the establishment of an annual conference on land applied by-products, and support the delegation of administrative and permit authority for 40 CFR Part 503 to Ohio EPA.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2001

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