Local News

Cary Recycles Sludge Into Fertilizer Pellets

Posted October 15, 2002 4:52 a.m. EDT

— Cary leaders have decided to turn sludge at their south treatment plant into fertilizer pellets.

Currently, the liquid sludge is hauled off to area farmlands.

"The hauling distance for liquid recycling has gotten to 60 or 70 miles and it's costing us a real lot of money," said Rob Bonne, utilities division director for the

town of Cary


He said costs will continue to climb as the town grows, but believes the answer is a $13.3 million bio-solids dryer.

"It will save a quarter of a million dollars a year even though it cost so much to build. It'll save the town money in the long run," Bonne said.

Right now, the town produces about 14 million gallons of sludge per year.

According to Bonne, a bio-solids dryer will reduce the sludge to about 10 percent of its original amount, about the equivalent of 1 million gallons of fertilizer pellets, called Milorganite.

Bonne said it is full of micronutrients.

"It's also a slow release type of fertilizer so you can't burn the lawn or your shrubs and it also adds organic matter to the soil," Bonne said.

Bonne said the town is working out pellet distribution and hopes Cary residents will get an opportunity to use them soon.

The project is aided by $1 million in federal funds to help build the dryer, which should be online by winter 2005, said Bonne.

The facility may accept sludge from other towns if there is extra capacity.