The Town began operating a biosolids dryer facility in December 2005 to provide a cost effective and flexible biosolids reuse program.
This facility takes liquid biosolids, a byproduct of the main wastewater treatment processes, from the North and South Cary Water Reclamation Facilities and converts them, using heat, to a dry BB-sized pellet used as fertilizer. These pellets meet strict state and federal guidelines required to achieve a Class A EQ (exceptional quality) rating and provides the Town with the most options for safe reuse or cost effective disposal.
From 2006–2008, this facility treated an average of 28 million gallons of biosolids per year and produced an average of 3,100 tons of pellets per year for the agricultural market. The waste generated by a typical family in a year is about 100 pounds of fertilizer.
The Town of Cary markets its round fertilizer pellets under the name Cary Enviro Gems. The name was selected from among more than 60 ideas submitted by Town employees during an internal naming contest.
Location - South Cary Water Reclamation Facility, one of two wastewater treatment plants in Cary. (Biosolids from the North Cary plant will also be dried there.)
Like many other towns, Cary used to hire companies to spray bio-solids on numerous pieces of farmland in the vicinity. However, this means hauling biosolids by tractor-trailer as much as 60 miles. With development in the area, finding suitable land for disposal will become increasingly difficult. Some also question whether land application is the best environmental solution for the treatment byproduct.
North Carolina has strict rules getting rid of biosolids and limiting exposure. Sometimes it goes into landfills, taking up valuable disposal space. Drying biosolids into pellets decreases the volume to a small fraction of the original amount while producing a safe and useful landscaping product.
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