Saskatoon has lessons about sewage

When I was working at the Saskatoon sewage-treatment plant in 2001, wastewater went through a series of filters where inorganics such as candy wrappers were filtered out and trucked to the garbage dump. The filtered and treated wastewater then travelled six kilometres north of Saskatoon where it was spread on several drying beds. The dried product was used to fertilize local farmers’ fields for non-human consumption.

Farmer Jack Folkertsma says since using these biosolids on his fields, his yields have increased, pH levels in the soil have improved and he has been able to cut back on chemical fertilizers.

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“It’s been a positive experience for me in seeing the soil levels increasing in fertility and being able to do it in a cost-efficient way,” he said.

Treatment today uses biological fermentation by micro-organisms instead of chemicals, and produces an organic product where worms and insects thrive. We could also spread organic biosolids in the clearcuts, to replace the organic matter we have removed and shipped to mills overseas.

Saskatoon’s water-treatment experts travel worldwide, teaching others about their unique treatment system. Can we learn from them?

Leon McFadden


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