Biosolids Program The Farm The Agrarian Center was opened on August 9, 1990, with only two employees. The property consists of approximately 2000 acres which is divided into two sites. Site 1 has 24 fields making up about 1120 acres while Site 2 consists of 13 fields occupying 870 acres. All fields are plotted and marked with a signe displaying the acreage. What is an Agrarian Center and What Purpose Does It Serve? The purpose of the Agrarian Center is to dispose of biosolids, the solid end product of the wastewater treatment process, in an application that meets the demands of the Environmental Protection Agency. The biosolids are collected at the Catoma Wastewater Treatment Plant and pumped as a liquid slurry that is approximately 3% solids across Catoma Creek into the holding tanks located at both sites of the Agrarian Center. These tanks hold 1.5 million gallons each. Terragators, large vehicles which connect to the holding tanks and are filled with biosolids, dispose of the wate by spraying the biosolids onto the fields which have been planted with grass seed. In addition to the terragators, traveling irrigation guns have been installed on Site 2 which disperses the biosolids automatically. There are thirty-two distributing fixtures scattered throughout Site 2 to which the traveling guns can be connected to distribute the biosolids over the entire acreage of Site 2. How It Works Winter rye grass seed is planted in the fall and Johnson grass seed is planted later in the spring. This grass is fertilized with biosolids which contain essential nutrients including nitrogen necessary for fast, healthy growth. As the grass grows, the nitrogen is absorbed from the soil by the grass. When the grass is mature, it is harvested as hay, and as a result, the nitrogen and other elements deposited during the spraying of the biosolids by the terragtors, is removed from the soil. Then the process of planting-spraying-harvesting begins again. This spraying process, also known as "land application", is an environment friendly alternative to disposing of the biosolids, or "sludge", in landfills. The hay, baled in 1200 pound round bales, is sold to the general public for feeding cattle. However, the biosolids cannot be used to fertilize any product for direct human consumption. Our typical annual hay production is approximately 8,000 bales. In addition to the hay, corn is also planted for the deer and turkey populations, as well as other wildlife, living in the wooded areas of the farm. There is an area on the farm dedicated as a wildlife refuge where on any given day, a variety of animals and plants native to this area can be readily observed. Managing The Farm A computer application is used to ensure that we do not exceed the EPA limits when distributing the biosolids on the fields. This program is a sophisticated accumulation of information which is updated constantly to reflect the current status of each of the 37 fields on the farm. The groundwater at the Agrarian Center is monitored for contamination and the content of the biosolids are analyzed. This information is stored in the application and used to develop the schedule for spraying the biosolids. This application also generates all of the required EPA forms and status reports. Biosolids Program Policy The Water Works and Sanitary Sewer Board of the City of Montgomery is committed to maintaining a high quality Biosolids Beneficial Reuse Program. The Board recognizes the need for strict and effective pretreatment programs, laboratory quality, wastewater treatment plant operation and maintenance, and agrarian center performance criteria. This performance based approach sets high standards for administering the most cost effective program possible without sacrificing federal, state, and local regulations. For comments or questions about the biosolids management program, please contact us at (334) 206-1700.