Biosolids destined for a lawn near you

Port Orchard’s Wastewater Treatment Facility Plant Manager John Poppe has discovered a way for all Port Orchard residents to give back to the community — literally — and the results of Poppe’s invention are just around the corner.

Poppe’s patented design to push Class-B biosolids into the more usable Class-A category is slated to be constructed and put to work early next year.

Poppe said he has specified the equipment needed to build the digester and was in the process of ordering it Monday.

He said he expects all materials to be delivered just after the first of the year. After assembling, the new process of producing higher-class biosolids will begin.

“As our raw sewage sludge comes in, it takes the material and runs it through a digestion process that stabilizes it,” Poppe explained.

“The biosolids produced through this digestion process are considered Class-B biosolids,” he said, making the material safe for use on orchards and fields.

However, Poppe’s new design is a relatively uncomplicated way to turn Class-B into Class-A.

“It’s a pasteurization,” Poppe said. “(The design) ensures there are no pathogenic organisms.”

Poppe said Class-A biosolids can be used by the general public as fertilizer for lawns and root plants. Karcher Creek Sewer District is even considering a practical way to sell the fertilizer to the public and use the leftovers for the further good of the community.

“One of the things the district is considering is buying a plot of land,” he said.

According to Poppe, when the production of biosolids from the plant exceeds public demand, the extra solids will be used as fertilizer for a new tree-growing operation on the acquired land.

Poppe said the specific plot of land has not been decided on, but it will have to be close to the plant in South Kitsap County.

Poppe also said the plot could be used as a central location for the public to pick up loads of the biosolid fertilizer for $10 a load.

“The charge is not to make money,“ he explained, but rather to reimburse some of the costs of production and transfer.

As far as the potential for public concern about using the biosolids, Poppe said he expects some concern but that his confidence is in the results of using the biosolids.

“The biosolids are actually less dangerous than commercial fertilizer,” he said. “I think there just comes a time for the public to try it and benefit from the value.“

Poppe said he has been contacted by several large firms regarding his patented technology. He attributes the inventions popularity on its simplicity.

“It’s simple, yet it meets the criteria,“ he said. “I took a look at what the regulations were and came up with the tanks and the process. I didn’t overcomplicate the regulations.“

Poppe said the plant is also involved in a future project to rehabilitate Karcher Creek, incubating salmon eggs at the plant and releasing the fish into the wild.

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