Land Application of Biosolids Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District

Biosolids are nutrient-rich organic material separated from the liquid portion of municipal wastewater after treatment. The biosolids recycled by Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District (RRSD) are applied as a liquid and act as fertilizer and soil conditioner on area farmland. The application of biosolids is an effective way of replenishing the area’s farmland each year by restoring nutrients and organic matter in the soil necessary for crop growth. The application of biosolids completes a natural cycle in the environment and returns a valuable resource to the land.

The Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District has been applying biosolids to farmland since late 1987. This well managed program consistently meets high standards without adversely impacting human health.

All recycled biosolids must meet strict federal, state and local regulations and standards. When processed, applied and managed under these regulations, biosolids are safe for the environment and the regulations are protective of human health. Criteria or standards vary depending on crop type. Local conditions limit land application due to seasonal variances and crop stage.

During 2001, Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District biosolids land application program experienced a productive year. A total of 7,475,000 gallons and 423 cubic yards (1,905.4 dry tons/1,728.2 metric tons) were land applied during the period which would have been disposed elsewhere had land application not been used. This represents a 1,525,000-gallon reduction under calendar year 2000 production. The program utilized 449.3 acres of the 2,392.9 permitted acres. There are five local farmers participating in the program at no cost to the farmer. The only stipulation is that their land meets criteria for application of biosolids. Biosolids for agricultural use have produced significant improvements in crop growth and yield in the area.

The RRSD Wastewater Treatment Plant alkaline stabilizes the biosolids and pumps the stabilized biosolids to a 1 million gallon capacity storage tank. The alkaline stabilization process meets all requirements for pathogen (germs and viruses) and vector attraction reduction (varmints, flies and mosquitoes). The alkaline stabilized biosolids meet all criteria and limits for Class B biosolids.

The Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District’s biosolids land application program goals are to provide a mutually cost effective and environmentally sound option promoting beneficial utilization of wastewater residuals. Extreme conditions warrant the addition of land ownership to the biosolids application program guaranteeing the District a ready destination for biosolids while reducing the burden on a limited storage capacity. Participation in Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District’s biosolids management program is expected to grow and expand beyond farmland as more end-use sites are identified. Biosolids applications are particularly effective when used on tree farms as well as pastures and row crops. As the District grows and wastewater treatment volume increases, more biosolids will be produced and distributed. Distribution of the biosolids for land application allows the community to take full advantage of this valuable resource.


For more information on Roanoke Rapids biosolids program, contact Gregg Camp, ORC, Plant Manager, Roanoke Rapids Sanitary District, Wastewater Treatment Plant, 135 Aqueduct Road, Weldon, NC 27890, or contact 252-536-4884. For additional information, visit these sites: