Saskatoon plant turns nutrients from bio waste into fertilizer

The plant is expected to produce about 300 tonnes of fertilizer from human waste.

SASKATOON – What’s believed to be Canada’s first commercial facility for turning human waste into fertilizer has opened at Saskatoon’s waste-water treatment plant.

The city has joined with a company that specializes in recovering phosphorus and nitrogen from a chemical that can clog pipes and cause millions of dollars in damage.

The material is converted into a slow-release fertilizer for use by growers across North America.

Jeff Jorgensen, general manager of Saskatoon’s utility services, says the process is environmentally friendly.

He says removing the chemical will also improve flow through existing pipes.

The project cost $4.5 million and revenue from the fertilizer is to be used to offset operating costs shared by the city and the company Ostara.

The plant is expected to produce about 300 tonnes of fertilizer each year and has the capacity to produce up to 900 tonnes annually.

Saskatoon Mayor Don Atchison sees the facility as a huge benefit not only for city residents who no longer have to fear clogs shutting the plant down, but also for people in surrounding communities.

“It means that … the people who are downstream from us (don’t) have to worry about sewage being released in an emergency-type scenario,” Atchison said Wednesday at the opening of the facility.

Atchison said it’s also great to have a partnership with Ostara that puts Saskatoon on the environmental map.

“The best part is that we’re No. 1 in Canada. We’re the first ones to take this step … I think it’s important to let the public know that we are taking the environment very, very seriously.”

©The Canadian Press