Flip this slag: CFAES team turns brownfield green

Restoring soil 2In Chicago, Nick Basta and colleagues from CFAES’s School of Environment and Natural Resources are helping restore “an 87-acre wasteland of glassy slag” using topsoil made from biosolids. Biosolids are treated sewage sludge (in this case, collected by Chicago’s sewage system); once treated, they’re safe to use, free of pathogens and full of nutrients that help plants grow. In test plots, a biosolids-based soil blend made by Basta and team worked better than a wood-chip-based compost at supporting plants and beneficial soil organisms. The slag is waste from steel mills that used to be on the site. Read more in a story in TerraDaily.

2 thoughts on “Flip this slag: CFAES team turns brownfield green

  1. how can you make these erroneous claims about biosolids? EPA itself in its testing has shown the amount of toxins/chemicals etc is very problematic – see the Cornell study as well . You are trying to sell mutton dressed as lamb. Not objective science. Great idea throwing toxins on top of toxins and claiming it is a victory.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Don. I shared it with Nick Basta, the lead scientist on the work, and this is what he said:

    “All of the statements re: biosolids are accurate and based on scientific findings. Our research was published in the prestigious Journal of Environmental Quality after peer review by three research scientists with expertise in the topical area. The manuscript was further reviewed by an associate editor, technical editor and editor who are all Ph.D. experts on the topic. This is a rigorous process that validates the quality of science and objectivity of our unbiased research. Neither the degraded soil nor the biosolids were toxic. The soil was degraded, not contaminated. We reclaimed land using a non-toxic beneficial material — biosolids. Restoration of land using biosolids is not new. The scientific literature has dozens of publications over the last 30 years. Our research showed biosolids was as good as high-quality compost for land restoration.”

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