Throughout the years, the Macon Water Authority has worked to be an environmentally conscious steward of our community. As a part of this effort, the MWA began supplying treated biosolids free for local farmers to use as fertilizer in 1992. Macon Soils (MSI) was established in 1998 as a non-profit entity of the MWA to continue this process.
How Macon Soils Works
Macon Soils supplies biosolids and other nutrient-rich materials to farmers as a fertilizer or lime supplement. Biosolids are the remnants removed from wastewater as they are biologically digested, thickened, and processed to remove water.
MSI land applies around 23,000 tons of biosolids generated by the Macon Water Authority to local farmers. MSI also spreads approximately 1,000 tons of lime-rich mud annually produced by the Frank C. Amerson, Jr. Water Treatment Plant.
Is It Safe?
Many factors are considered to ensure MSI provides a safe and reliable product to farmers. Because the wastewater plants where the biosolids are processed involve a biological process, much sampling and monitoring occurs.
It takes up to 30 days for the sludge to enter the plant, go through the treatment process, and pass on to the dewatering facility. The biosolids are then tested for the number of nutrients and other elements to determine the application rate for each crop.
How is the Environment Protected?
There are buffer zones around houses, wells, roadways, waterways, and property lines at the application sites to maintain a safe environment. Detailed records are also kept on every application site. These records, coupled with the soil samples, are made available annually to the landowner, as long as the site remains active.
Recycling 23,000 tons of biosolids – which fill about 1,600 large dump trucks – saves money for landowners, the MWA, and the many customers of the MWA. To place the biosolids in a landfill, the cost to the MWA would be from $40-$60 per ton. By comparison, the cost to recycle the biosolids to spread on local farms is approximately $24 per ton.