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Pocatello farms using human waste for fertilizer

It may sound unappetizing, but the city of Pocatello is using biosolids from the city wastewater plant as fertilizer at area farms.

As part of a program dating back to the 1970s, waste from the plant is shipped to city-owned alfalfa and grain farms near the airport.

“We remove all the pathogenic bacteria that are in the wastewater,” said Jon Herrick, the city’s water pollution control superintendent.

Over the next three to four weeks, the city plans to ship 1,100 to 1,200 tons of biosolids to area farms. Herrick said this prevents the waste from having to be burnt.

“Then we’d have stuff in the air and then the ash to deal with,” said Herrick.

The city said the process is being overseen by both the Environmental Protection Agency as well as the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

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