EFAR Interview with CASA’s Greg Kester
Greg Kester, CASA’s Director of Renewable Resource Programs, recently gave an interview to the European Federation for Agricultural Recycling (EFAR) on Biosolids Land Application in California. View the interview on LinkedIn or the transcript here:
EFAR: What is CASA?
G Kester: CASA (California Association of Sanitation Agencies) represents public agencies engaged in the collection, treatment and recycling of wastewater and Biosolids.
EFAR: What is your role in CASA?
G Kester: I am in charge of the Renewable Resources Program which is focusing on Biosolids management, climate change mitigation, renewable energy, and water and nutrient recycling.
EFAR: What are the major disposal and recovery routes for Biosolids in California ?
G Kester: In total California is producing 627 000 dry metric tonnes of Biosolids each year, most of which (69%) is used on land as a soil amendment/fertiliser whether directly or after composting. Some Biosolids are going to landfill (24%) and only 3% are incinerated.
EFAR: How do you see things changing in the future ?
G Kester: In California a new regulation imposes a 75% reduction in the quantities of organic waste sent to landfill by 2025. Therefore we are expecting a significant growth of Biosolids land application as incineration is not very popular in California due to its permitting difficulties and its high costs.
EFAR: What are the benefits of Biosolids land application?
G Kester: Biosolids have tremendous benefits on soil health and on crop yields due to the supply of organic matter and nutrients. Carbon sequestration and the avoidance of fossil-fuel intense consumption for the production of inorganic fertilisers also contribute to the mitigation of climate change.
EFAR: Is the co-treatment of Biosolids with other organic waste a common practice in California?
G Kester: One third of the Biosolids produced in California are already composted with green waste and there are huge opportunities to co-digest sewage sludge with diverted food waste from landfills.
EFAR: Is there any success story in terms of Biosolids land application that you would like to mention ?
G Kester: The solutions developed by the City of Los Angeles, Bureau of Sanitation (LASAN) is a very good example of best practices in biosolids management. LASAN applies thermophilic anaerobically digested biosolids on its 2,025 hectare Green Acres farm in Kern County and has done so since the mid-1990’s. When the farm was purchased, it was called Poverty Farm and had a pH of ~10.5 and looked like the moon. After years of application it now has black fertile soil and a pH of ~7.8 and produces two cycles of crops per year. The farm is irrigated with recycled effluent from the nearby City of Bakersfield. LASAN also operates a compost facility at Griffith Park in the City and markets it as TOPGRO. Finally LASAN is demonstrating an innovative technology to convert Biosolids into clean energy by deep well placement and geothermal biodegradation.
$68M in Grant Funding Available
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced a Request for Applications for $68 million in federal funding through the Environmental Finance Center (EFC) Grant Program. A major priority for this program over the next five years is to provide technical support to disadvantaged communities across the country. Selected technical assistance providers will help communities develop and submit project proposals, including State Revolving Fund (SRF) applications for Bipartisan Infrastructure Law funding. Additionally, the EFCs will support a range of projects focused on solid waste, clean air, toxic substances, drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater. Application packages must be submitted electronically no later than Friday, June 17, 2022, to be considered for funding. More information is available here.