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From Flush to Bloom


Wastewater treatment is a favorite topic for its public health benefits and nitrogen reduction opportunities. Thanks to Maryland's leadership over decades, the Chesapeake region benefits from incredible commitment by taxpayers, utilities, engineers and many more to set the gold, or blue, standard for wastewater treatment, a pivotal part of restoring our streams, rivers and the Chesapeake Bay. DC Water sets that standard on the largest of scales. This week, I was fortunate to tag along on a tour for area farmers to see one of the world's largest advanced treatment and production processes creating high quality biosolids and a range of soil amendments at Blue Plains. It is always pretty awe inspiring to go there. This relatively recent innovation produces BLOOM available for commercial and residential use. Along the way, the state of the art heat treatment (CAMBI thermal hydrolysis) process stabilizes material, removes any pathogens and recaptures methane to produce heat and generate renewable energy credits that offset plant costs. Contractors, landscapers, ecological restoration experts and farmers are all customers. Thanks to James Fatouhi of DC Water and April Thompson of Blue Drop for the excellent informative tour.