Water Reclamation Facility Biosolids Market Analysis
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The University of Oregon Master of Business Administra on and Master of Accoun ng students collaborated in Joshua Skov’s graduate-level course in Industrial Ecology (MGMT 641), inves ga ng the possibili es for the marke ng and sale of outputs from the treatment of wastewater (sewage) at the Albany Water Reclama on Facility. In the city’s previous wastewater treatment facility, sludge was processed into Class B Biosolids and given to grass seed farmers in the area. In the city's current wastewater treatment facility, the city conducted a compos ng pilot project. The goal of this project was to iden fy markets for the composted biosolids as well as poten al local partners, and make recommenda ons for the structure and details of poten al projects. In addi on to considering the exis ng grass seed market, the class researched the poten al markets by conduc ng surveys of farmers around Albany, Oregon. The farms include hops, pears, dryland wheat, blueberries, and christmas trees. Students selected these markets based on the environmental bene ts of biosolids to agriculture, forestry, and land reclama on. Students researched best prac ces from around the country and summarized successful implementa ons. They selected and researched treatment facili es with similar loca ons, community size served, an existence of public- private partnerships, and/or classi ca on of biosolids and their subsequent applica ons. They then explored the types of poten al bulking material. The addi on of bulking material is a cri cal component to the compos ng process for crea ng higher class biosolids. Students examined bulking materials in use across a wide range of biosolids and other organic waste compos ng processes. Research revealed three primary types of compost opera ons: Aerated Windrows, In Vessel, and Anaerobic Biodiges on. Lastly, the class assessed the possibility of a public-private partnership. Students met with several private corpora ons that partner with public ins tu ons to create value for all stakeholders in a solid waste management system. The research revealed the chemical and environmental value of biosolids, but that given public percep on, biosolid-derived fer lizer cannot compete against plen ful, cheap synthe c fer lizers derived from natural gas. The class suggests a series of considera ons for Albany. They also suggest immediate explora on of a partnership deal under a Design-Build-Operate (DBO) model. The City of Albany can seek reduced cost funding under the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (CWSRF).