Safe Biosolids
The current EPA and state regulations are based on extensive studies of the possible long-term effects of the land application of biosolids. However, studies are ongoing and the city will implement any new guidelines as required. Any questions or comments about the environmental and health concerns of biosolids usage are welcome and can be directed to Justin Ray, Biosolids Coordinator, of Clean Water Services, at 417-891-1600.

Regulating Authorities

To ensure the protection of the area's bountiful and scenic waterways, MoDNR requires compliance beyond just the EPA Biosolids regulations by requiring adherence to the University of Missouri extension center WQ's.  In Springfield the City's Industrial Pretreatment Program assist in limiting the amount of pollutants in the wastewater before it is even discharged into the treatment plant.

  • US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MoDNR)
  • University of Missouri Extension Center WQ's for Biosolids
  • City of Springfield Biosolid Program BMP
  • Voluntary member of National Biosolids Partnership BMP

Addressing Safety & Environmental Concerns

Due to concerns and misconceptions EPA developed standards for controlling the use & disposal of biosolids.

  • Biosolids Management Program
    • Initiated in 1979
    • Under Authority of the Missouri Clean Water Act
  • National Pollutant Discharge Ellimination System Permit (NPDES)
    • Southwest Clean Water Treatment Plant Permit
    • Standard Conditions, Part III
    • Special Conditions
  • EPA 40 CFR 503 Biosolids Regulations
    • Effective 1994
    • Under authority of EPA to protect human health & the environment

What are part 503 regulations?

  • General requirements
  • Pollutant Limits
  • Pathogen & Vector Attraction Reduction
  • Management Practices
  • Frequency of Monitoring
  • Recordkeeping
  • Reporting

What are Best Management Practices?

  • Crop and grazing restrictions
  • Stormwater run-off controls
  • Regulated application rates
  • Water quality protection
  • Buffer zones and slope limitations
  • No application near threatened or endangered species
  • Strict recordkeeping requirements

Class B Biosolids

Land application is the preferred method of disposal of Biosolids by the EPA.  Land application of Biosolids improves and maintains productive soils and stimulates plant growth.  The City of Springfield's Southwest Clean Water Plant produces Class B biosolids, adhereing to the strict reglations to ensure safety of human/animal health & the environment. 

  • Biomass goes through physical, chemical, and biological processes to ensure the Biosolids are safe for land application.
  • Biosolids undergo treatment to reduce pathogens
  • Site restrictions and management practices, including minimum time durations between application and land usage, allowing natural processes to further reduce pathogen levels.
  • Guidelines restrict the types of cropland on which these biosolids can be applied.
    • Locally, the biosolids are applied to lands producing all hay producing grasses (warm and cool season), corn, soybeans, and other types of crops not used for human consumption.
Biosolids production

Monitor Data

In 1982 the Missouri DNR, in cooperation with MU and other interested groups, published WQ429. The biosolids series of Water Quality guides addresses state and federal regulations under 40 CFR 503 for use and disposal of municipal biosolids. Missouri guidelines are more stringent in certain cases, giving an additional margin of safety for its citizens.  See University of Missouri Extension WQ's for guidelines to Biosolids.

Study of pollutants in Missouri Biosolids

A study conducted by the MU Environmental Trace Substance Laboratory analyzed Biosolids from wastewater treatment facilities for toxic levels of organic compounds, nutrients, and heavy metal contaminants.  Soil samples were also taken for analysis.

  • High levels of crop nutrients were found in all biosolids tested
  • All biosolids were found safe for agricultural use
  • None of the soils analyzed had accumulated pollutants at levels of environmental concerns.

Benefits of biosolids

  • Increase yields
  • Add organic matter
  • Improve soil structure
  • Benefit community - landfill space not used up & reduced cost to farmer for fertilizer.

Potential risk of biosolids applications
Misconceptions over high levels of heavy metals, other pollutants and potentially harmful pathogens create concerns about the potential adverse impact of land application.  Most people lack the technical knowledge needed to understand how nutrients move through soil, the technical issues surrounding potential risks and the general practice of applying biosolids.  Consequently, the EPA developed risk-based standards for controlling the use and disposal of biosolids.  The City of Springfield's Clean Water Plants ensure the safety of its citizens health and environment in regards to the land application of Biosolids by following the even stricter Missouri regulations for the land application of Biosolids.  


  • Daily testing of Biosolids
  • Daily recordkeeping of land application, hauling, production
  • Field selection, sampling
  • Talking with farmers & neighboring land owners
  • Regulatory inspections
  • pretreatment monitoring
  • Daily, weekly, monthly, & yearly reports


  • Local Farmers and neighboring landowners
  • Regulatory agencys
  • Fairs - educational booths
  • Tours
  • National North America Manure Expo 2014 in Springfield, MO
  • Projects with local Colleges
  • Grants
  • Technical conferences
  • MWEA Biosolids committees
  • Networking other municapalities
  • National Biosolids Partnership


The City of Springfield will continue to adhere to the strict requirements for managing its Biosolids Program to ensure health and environmental safety is protected.

Biosolids Protecting water pic