SFPUC Receives Their First Check for New Biosolids Recycling Program

Resource Recovery, Technology and Innovation

On April 3rd the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission received its first payment for sale of its biosolids-based fertilizer. Lystek, a North American leader in biosolids and organics management, has partnered with the SFPUC to convert biosolids, the nutrient-rich soil-like product from wastewater treatment, into a marketable, renewable fertilizer, which is now being sold to local farms.

“We are excited to be working with Lystek to produce a valuable and renewable fertilizer for our Bay Area agricultural communities,” said SFPUC General Manager Harlan L. Kelly, Jr. “This project is an example of how public-private partnerships can advance innovation and environmental stewardship while solving global challenges.”

Through its wastewater treatment process, the SFPUC extracts solids from the incoming wastewater, and uses a biological treatment process (anaerobic digestion) to transform the solids into a fertilizer replacement called biosolids – a compost-like product with valuable soil nutrients. Decades of research and use by farmers have demonstrated that biosolids are an effective way to improve soils and enhance crop growth by returning valuable carbon and nutrients to the land.

The partnership between the SFPUC and Lystek facilitates the production and sale of a climate-friendly fertilizer derived from biosolids and is an example of a larger international movement towards resource recovery and energy efficiency.

“We are proud and honored to share that we have been working with the SFPUC since 2017 to manage approximately 15 percent of their biosolids at our regional Organic Material Recovery Center, located at the Fairfield-Suisun Sewer District,” said James Dunbar, General Manager of the multi award-winning facility. “Here, the patented and proven, Lystek Thermal Hydrolysis Process is utilized to convert biosolids into LysteGro, a unique, commercial biofertilizer product that is rich in carbon and nutrients.”

This fertilizer is ideal for agriculture as it is carbon-based, contains essential nutrients and increases soil carbon content – which is important for helping soils to hold more water in the face of drought. It can also reduce some of the greenhouse gas emissions associated with traditional fertilizer production.

Wastewater utilities are now expanding their focus from cleaning water to the next environmental frontier—climate change. To help fight climate change and create more resilient communities in the face of volatile temperatures and drought cycles, utilities are ramping up the recovery and use of recycled products from wastewater such as biosolids, recycled water and biogas (a fossil-fuel gas alternative created during the biosolids treatment process).

About the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) is a department of the City and County of San Francisco. It delivers drinking water to 2.7 million people in the San Francisco Bay Area, collects and treats wastewater for the City and County of San Francisco, and generates clean power for municipal buildings, residents, and businesses. The SFPUC’s mission is to provide customers with high quality, efficient and reliable water, power, and sewer services in a manner that values environmental and community interests and sustains the resources entrusted to our care. Learn more at www.sfwater.org.

About Lystek International 

Lystek International is a leading provider of Thermal Hydrolysis Process and service solutions for the sustainable management of biosolids and organics. The multi-purpose, award-winning Lystek THP® system reduces costs, volumes and GHG’s by converting wastewater treatment facilities into resource recovery centers. This is achieved by transforming organic waste streams into value-added products and services, such as the patented LysteMize® process for optimizing digester performance, reducing volumes and increasing biogas production; LysteGro®, a high-value, nutrient-rich biofertilizer and LysteCarb®, an alternative source of carbon for BNR systems. Learn more at www.lystek.com