Biosolids are a complex mixture of sewage sludge that contains pollutants from household, commercial and industrial wastewaters with organic contaminants (such as pharmaceuticals), inorganic contaminants (metals and trace elements), and pathogens (bacteria and parasites).
It is estimated that more than 7.6 million tons of biosolids were generated for use or disposal in 2006, two-thirds of which were either land applied, composted or used as landfill cover, with the remainder being disposed (i.e., discarded with no attempt to recover nutrients or other valuable properties).
For several decades, the wastewater treatment industry has recycled sewage sludge by applying it in treated form to agricultural land, parks, golf courses, lawns and home gardens. Yet, uncertainty remains as to the potential for adverse human health effects from exposure to biosolids. Therefore, government agencies across the United States are beginning to ban the practice of agricultural land spreading
The benefits of disposing municipal wastes through gasification rather than land application, landfilling and incineration are clear. The BRI Process finally makes this solution economically viable.