Since the early 1990s, Alcosoil, a sludge (or biosoil) used as fertilizer for crop fields, has been produced at the Allegheny County Sanitation Authority (Alcosan). Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports that some people are questioning the material, claiming that it contains harmful chemicals, pathogens and bacteria that negatively affect humans and the environment.
Some farmers, on the other hand, say that you can’t tell the difference between cow manure and sludge when it’s spread on a field. Rick Young, a Belmont County, Ohio, farmer who’s been using the sludge for 20 years, says that the sludge helped seven different grasses grow on his pasture.
Alcosan tests the sludge it produces twice each month, and also adds limestone powder to satisfy state regulations about bacteria and pathogens that attract flies and rodents.
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