SOUTH DAKOTA Department of
Environment & Natural Resources

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Surface Water

Solids Storage and Land Application

picture of sludge being land appliedThe end product of anaerobic digestion is a biologically stable substance that has nutrient and soil-enhancing properties, referred to as Biosolids. Biosolids are typically stored until the material can be land applied or disposed of in a landfill. Much of the biosolids produced in South Dakota are applied to farm land. Biosolids contain many of the same nutrients as commercial fertilizers, including valuable organic mater, nitrogen, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, and micronutrients, such as zinc and iron.

While not a complete replacement for chemical fertilizers in terms of nutrient ratios, biosolids do some things that chemical fertilizers can’t do. They are composed of organic matter that promotes necessary bacterial activity and improves the structure, texture, and water retention characteristics of the soil. These properties stimulate growth of vegetation, which helps reduce soil erosion and improve crop yields. Biosolids also provide trace metals and nutrients that commercial fertilizers do not have.

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