Rarely mentioned night soil and mineral

by rdan

Hat tip to Healthy Rivers for this piece of news:

We’re taking your Number Two and making it Number One

That’s the goal behind an innovative plan to re-invent sewage bio-solids as garden compost, unveiled yesterday at the GMSC’s new facility on Delong Drive in Moncton.

Marketed under the brand name Gardener’s Gold, and attractively packaged with illustrations of flowers, hummingbirds and butterflies, the compost mulch and finer grain compost soil conditioner are a mix of bio-solids from the commission’s Riverview treatment plant and organic plant matter composted in the new state-of-the-art facility.

The facility had its official opening yesterday with a tour for media and VIPs, to be followed by an open house for the general public this Friday and Saturday.

Now, to cut through all the pretty butterflies and hummingbirds and phrases like “state-of-the-art” for a moment. Yes, bio-solids are what you think they are.

We humans have long recognized the value of sheep and cow manure, but for some reason, we’re not so keen on the idea of using our own waste to fertilize our yards, even if it has been heated to kill pathogens and bacteria and composted to a form that meets the highest standards of the Composting Council of Canada.

Don’t think you can get past the stigma of using human manure in your garden?

Perhaps the price will convince you to give it a try. The commission is giving out 12 kg bags of it for free this weekend at their open houses in celebration of their 25th anniversary.

If you can’t get there this week, Allain said the compost would continue to be free for the time being, available at both the commission’s locations.

At the Delong Drive facility, it is even available by the trailer or pickup truck load at a “shovel-your-own” station.

As a gardener of course, I know that using pig poop and human poop for food crops needs precautions due to the possible transmission of parasites, bacteria, and such from night soil to food crops. Easily done, however. Flower beds need fewer precautions. This possiblity has not been spontaneously mentioned here, however. But it is the other half of water infrastucture for city folk anyway.

As I was traveling through dairy country in upstate New York, the farmers were not as fastidious about using cow manure. I figure we have a patriotic duty to reduce our addiction to petroleum based fertilizers. Sorry, no quantifiable data available just yet.

Hat tip to Naked Capitalism for this Times Online article regarding the use of phosphorous in modern agriculture. Another bottleneck in the global way of doing food supply not mentioned in our arguments about global trade and commodities is the intensive use of mined phosphorous. Countries with phosphorous resources are at an advantage, with phosphorous being absolutely essential to agriculture in the industrialized and developing nations.