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Milorganite Company Reuses Municipal Sewage

| Wednesday May 11th, 2005 | 17 Comments

milorganite.jpgThe idea of using human waste as fertilizer is as old as time, though in modern cities this practice has largely been lost. Nonetheless, the Milorganite company has been profitably making fertilizer out of treated sewage from the city of Milwaukee since 1926. It’s mostly used on golf courses because certain chemicals that are flushed down the john may pose a health risk if used on food crops.
Still, it all sounds good. My only concern is that I never hear anything about Milorganite from environmental circles, which makes me wonder if they’re either doing something wrong or have just been incredibly modest in their 75 years of operation. If you know somthing I don’t know, please post a comment.


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  • Ethel Stanton

    Dear Nick:
    If you go to the Milorganite website, you will find plentiful explanation of the value and use of this organic fertilizer. “Milorganite meets the strictest environmental regulations in the fertilizer industry. ”
    “Primary concern with respect to use of biosolids such as Milorganite, a fertilizer, when used for lawns, gardens, parks, golf courses, etc, centered around heavy metals and pathogens. The extensive research conducted in the development of 40 CFR Part 503 established concentration limits of metals, as well as pathogen controls which posed ‘no reasonable threat to human health or the environment.’”
    With respect to Milorganite, the heat drying process effectively kills all pathogens. ”
    …..
    “Milwaukee is acknowledged thoughout the country as having the most developed monitoring and sampling program as well as the most progressive pretreatment program. Milwaukee, through a stringent permitting process, imposes discharge limits on regulated metals. These limits are constantly monitored and vigorously enforced. ”
    “Product samles are taken daily and composited weekly for analysis to demonstrate compliance with the 40 CFR Part 500 Regulations. Extensive laboratory analysis is conducted to ensure safety, product quality, and to monitor any other contaminants, such as organic compounds, for compliance with the State of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources requirements.”
    Milorganite has been successfully merchandising its product since 1926. They have been able to produce a “dependable, slow release, non-burning organic fertilizer product” for 79 years.
    I suggest that you buy a couple of bags and try it.
    Ethel Stanton

  • http://www.thoughtsonthings.com Nick

    Ethel, thanks so much! The only reason I was concerned is that I’m surrounded by a lot of ecological thinkers, and they are typically unaware of Milorganite – a product that ought to get far more recognition than it does. Thanks for helping clear things up.

  • Ken

    I am wondering if either of you have heard of Natural Lawn of America.
    When I spoke to the receptionist (only one available) she said sewer sludge.
    I am wondering if either of you have heard if they have the same standards as Milorganite?

  • maureen

    Milorganite doesn’t test for salomella bacteria.
    In the past, they did not use an accredited lab to test their sludge based fertilizer…and Milorganite product was refused in Canada due to salmonella growth.

  • http://www.milorganite.com Mike Archer

    We do test for salmonella sp. and actively market and ship into Canada, with each shipment showing a “zero detect” for salmonella.

  • pamela gordon

    Is this safe for my dog …he is a licker and chewer of all things on the ground including the grass

  • pamrose1

    Is this safe for my dog …he is a licker and chewer of all things on the ground including the grass

  • Randy (County Agent)

    It’s fine to use and safe!

  • bill

    when is the best time to apply the fertlizer? before or after rain?

  • Mary Baenen (Research Gardener)

    I would never ever consider putting human waste on my garden or my yard. If one takes time to stop and think about what goes down a drain into a city sewage system, I’m sure we would be in agreement that this is not “organic” using the term as used for an “organic garden”. And heat treating is not magically changing: the paint and pharmaceuticals that were washed down the drain,or the hair dye and perm. solution that went down the beauty shop drain, or the formaldehyde from the mortuary drain into some magical “Natural Organic Fertilizer”. Milwaukee Milorganite’s logo above stating, “The Natural Organic Fertilizer” is misleading to say the least. Why don’t they label it what it is? Please think before you buy the hype about “biosolids” ie. city sewage sludge. They make it tempting to many with the nice sounding name and the lower price. If you have room, buy a cow and you have your own truly “Natural organic fertilizer”. Please don’t feed your cow on sewage sludge fertilized pastures :)
    No, it is not safe for humans or animals!!!

  • MORGAN

    A COMPLETE OBSURD ACT. MARKETED AND OBVIOUSLY RECEIVED A S A SAFE FERTILIZER. JUST MOVED TO MILWAUKEE AND DRIVE BY THE MANUFACTURING SITE DAILY– MILWAUKEE WASTE AND STORMWATER SYSTEMS ARE UNITED– YEAH ITS GOT NITROGEN, — HUMAN WASTE IS ONE THING- HEAVY METALS,
    FIRE RETARDENT, CHEMICALS OFF ALL SORTS GET FLUSHED DOWN THE DRAIN OUR SINKS AND END UP IN “MILORGANITE” ITS ALL ABOUT THE $$$. MILWAUKEE GETS PAID AND AMERICANS LOST THEIR GOVERNMENT AND CORPORATE REVOLUTIONARY DISTRUST SO LONG ITS CRAZY.
    HAVE A LOOK AT “CRAPSHOOT GAMBLING WITH OUT WASTE ” A FOREIGN FILM DEALING WITH THIS SUBJECT-
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6F_dyKbK2U
    THE IDEA OF PEOPLE BEING ABLE TO BUY THIS AT THEIR LOCAL HOME DEPOT OR ACE HARDWARE STORES IT OUTRAGEOUS!!! WHAT IS UP WITH THIS COUNTRY?????

    • Weags50

      75 years says it all

  • Nancy

    MORGAN – please learn to type without using ALL CAPS. Your argument is totally incoherent anyway, but using all caps is really annoying.

    • Weags50

      thank you nancy

  • Robert Nicole

    The fertilizer isn’t actually industrial and toilet waste; it’s made up of the corpses of billions of microscopic bugs that eat the waste.

    (Source: Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District)

  • Weags50

    75 years says it all

  • Weags50

    thank you nancy