Are Colorado Crops Being Fertilized With Human Waste?
At first glance, the idea of Colorado crops being fertilized with human waste seems like something you would rather not think about. But, now that you're thinking about it, consider the question "Is it really happening?"
When it comes to fertilizer, the more appropriate - and palatable - term to use would be biosolids when referring to human waste. It is estimated that one out of every 200 acres of farmland in Colorado contains biosolids, and there's a waiting list of farmers who want to apply the human byproduct to their land.
According to The Colorado Sun, Colorado State University helped create a way to dispose of Colorado's human waste. That simply means treating it, drying it, and using it as farm fertilizer. They say it's better than using chemicals.
Human waste has to be disposed of somehow, and in today's recycle-conscious world, it shouldn't be surprising that wastewater treatment plants would be looking for a way to recycle their waste. We have plenty of it in Colorado. The Denver metro area is the largest producer of biosolids between Chicago and Los Angeles.
Fertilizing crops with poop certainly is nothing new, but, somehow the idea of using human waste strikes a sensitive chord. But, studies have shown that biosolids have not produced a significant change in groundwater quality or heavy metal uptake in plants. That certainly is good news.
The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment reports last year about 53,000 metric tons of biosolids covered Colorado crops and that number is only going to grow larger in the years ahead.
It's actually a pretty amazing bit of science and technology, and I'm glad it's happening, but, if I were to be completely honest, I really would rather not know about it.