FAIRMONT, W.Va. — If the grass is greener on the other side, it could be that the farmer is taking advantage of Fairmont’s biosolids program.
In many municipalities, like Fairmont, the solid waste at the sewer plant is processed into a blackish-brown sludge that can be applied to farmers’ fields of crops not intended for human consumption. Primarily for hay fields, the biosolids are very rich in nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorous, and can make the crops grow faster, healthier and more abundantly.
In fact, if you have fields side by side, one treated with biosolids and one untreated, you can certainly see that the grass is greener on the other side.
Dave Sago, utilities manager for Fairmont, says that between 16-20 farmers are currently taking advantage of the program at no cost to them. Once they go through a rigorous permitting process, the only requirement the landowners must meet is the ability to spread the biosolids once the utility brings it to the farm.
The program is also very heavily monitored by the West Virginia Department of Environmental Protection to ensure that no danger is posed to humans, animals or the environment.
The City of Fairmont’s program had a surprise inspection last week, Sago said. All of the records kept by the utility about the program were spot on, he explained, but there was one small issue during a random site inspection.
“We found out that the biosolids had been applied a little too close the the property line of the adjacent house,” Sago explained. “We sent a crew out (Thursday) with a backhoe, lime, shovels and rakes to move it back off the property line…