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Science and the Environment

New Tri-Lakes Biosolids Drying Facility Opens in Branson

Burns & McDonnell

The city of Branson is touting its new collaborative biosolids drying facility designed to help safely contain and reuse wastewater runoff. The Tri-Lakes biosolids drying facility operates as a partnership between Taney County, Branson, Forsyth, Hollister, Kimberling City, Reeds Spring, and Rockaway Beach. An open house was held Thursday.

Funded by a $3 million matching grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and the Taney County Regional Sewer District tax, the facility is located in west Branson as an add on to its Cooper Creek Wastewater Treatment Facility. The match required a $250,000 contribution from the city.

“We are pleased to host this open house to share with the community the major accomplishment of building this facility with several partners and to celebrate the additional protection it will provide for our lakes and streams,” said Branson Utilities Director Mike Ray in a statement earlier this week.

Biosolids, a product retained through the processing of wastewater sludge, must meet specific standards before it can be used in the environment. As the facility collects and treats the biosolids from each city partner, the residual product will be repurposed into fertilizer to promote plant growth in the area. The newly formed fertilizer can even be sold as a market ready item, creating economic benefits from the now implemented treatment system.

“Liquid wastewater sludge is classified as a Class B treated material by the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and it’s typically pumped from a wastewater treatment plant into tank trucks then hauled to farm fields where it is land applied as a liquid at a rate that’s allowed by regulatory requirements,” says Ray.

This new facility will be an improvement over the previous Class B production system. The Tri-Lakes drying facility now produces Class A biosolids that exponentially reduce the pathogen contamination to area water bodies.

“The dried material, considered a Class A under Missouri regulation, is pathogen free. Class B allows for two million colonies of bacteria to be present in every dry gram of material that would be spread,” Ray comments about the more environmentally friendly method.

The new structure is on track to produce about 1,100 tons of dried material in a year, greatly reducing the manpower previously used to haul the liquid sludge from city to city.

City leaders involved in the project have written extensively about the Tri-Lakes Biosolids Drying Facility, which can be viewed here.