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An Earth-Friendly, Wallet-Friendly Alternative to Biosolids Management

May 30, 2014

When it comes to biosolids management, there are three traditional solutions, none of which truly address the future.

These three solutions are to mechanically dewater solids and then transfer them to a landfill; mechanically dewater solids and then incinerate them; and land applications which can be accomplished in two fashions: storing solids in liquid form in a holding tank until injecting them into the ground, or drying the product into a fertilizer type of product. The third method can be problematic, as DNRs are often prohibiting this due to pollution/ground contamination. All three methods are either very costly, finite, and/or not earth-friendly; what happens when landfill space doesn’t exist anymore? Where will we be in 20 years?

This is where we come in. At Uzelac, we offer a unique alternative: our Biosolids Management Solution (BMS). Unlike incineration, which requires more energy from fossil fuels, we take the same concept, but dry the product to 90% solids, then burn it in a furnace, using the heat from that burning process to run it through the dryer. This greatly reduces the fuel requirement, using fuel only to start up, and therefore acts as a self-sufficient system.

As a result, over 90% less volume is placed in landfills, and fuel costs associated with incineration are eliminated. Only the hazard-free ash by-product remains, and the overall environmental impact is significantly reduced. Capital costs are less than 25% of the cost of incineration, resulting in a fast return on investment.

For many American municipalities, the cost of replacing an incinerator could be upwards of $30 million. Alternatively, our BMS system could handle the same volume for a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, landfill use can be anywhere from $25/ton to $80/ton depending on the region, and since our system produces so much less volume, cost savings are enormous. The remaining ash by-product has a market value as an aggregate product. Furthermore, the system is significantly smaller than an incinerator.

The BMS system uses technology that’s been proven for decades, but in a novel approach, resulting in lower operating costs, less energy use, and decreased landfill requirements—overall, a green, money-saving alternative that addresses the current and future needs of biosolids management.

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