As part of a process to upgrade the Town’s wastewater treatment plant to comply with Chesapeake Bay-related nutrient requirements (the upgrades are estimated at $40 million), the Town of Front Royal, Virginia (located in Warren County) is considering processes that would convert its the solids remaining after treatment from Class B biosolids to Class A biosolids. Class B biosolids are land-applied in many Virginia localities, but the applications are subject to various restrictions, because Class B biosolids contain detectable amounts of bacteria or other pathogens. Class A biosolids do not have detectable levels of pathogens, so they may be applied without the same restrictions. A heating process for the conversion would be a “multi-million dollar investment,” according to the Town Manager. Front Royal resident Jerry Scholder has asked the Town to consider generating Class A biosolids through using a vermiculture system, in which worms are used to digest organic material in biosolids, which are then dried to kill the worms and any microorganisms. The Town has asked Mr. Scholder to present a proposal.
Source: Worms work magic: Proposal would look to worms to turn waste into nontoxic fertilizer, Northern Virginia Daily, 10/14/12.
For an introduction to biosolids, please see “The Widespread Issue of Spreading Biosolids,” Virginia Water Central, Aug. 2005, online at www.vwrrc.vt.edu/watercentral.html. Please note: the August 2005 article was written prior to Virginia’s switch in 2008 of biosolids regulation from the Department of Health to the Department of Environmental Quality.