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 Post subject: Milorganite
PostPosted: Sat Aug 30, 2003 4:32 pm 
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Location: San Antonio,TEXAS
I have been using this product in my front yard, it states it is an organic source of nitrogen. Am I wrong or is this really an organic product. It works great and a side benifit is it keeps the deer away.


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 1:07 pm 
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dustoff79-
Milorganite is the sewer sludge from the city of Milwaukee. The name comes from a series of letters, MIL-waukee-ORGAnic-NITrogEn. It is considered organic, it has about 6-7% nitrogen and has been in use for years - like 50+ years. it is cheap, beneficial to the environment (not going to landfills) and works reasonably well. The negative is that someone had to drive a diesel truck 1014 miles to get us to buy their poop. We have our own poop but Dallas would rather landfill it than use it as a fertilizer.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:17 pm 
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You can get the same product, at least the same starting materials following the same recipe, from Houston. It is called Hou-Actinite. It is sold in everything from bags to truckloads.

The "biosolids" are treated with heat to 1,000 degrees F for (I don't know how long) to kill everything. Considering that a compost pile can do the same thing at 120 degrees, I consider the 1,000 degrees to be overkill, so to speak. What you are left with is a ceramic-like product that somehow has some fertilizer powers. After all that heat, I don't know how.

Or you can get composted Austin biosolids, called Dillo-Dirt. Or you can get composted San Antonio biosolids, called Alamo-Gro. These are true compost products and look/smell exactly like finished horse or cattle manure composts. All are perfectly safe to use due to the inspection procedures in place by the State of Texas. The human pathogen levels are as zero as zero can be.

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 Post subject: city sludge
PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 5:51 pm 
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Location: Weatherford,TX
Other than (mayby) keeping deer away, why would anyone want to use this type of stuff? Is it cheaper than other products? Does anyone know how safe it is? The 1,000 degrees is likely needed to kill all the c*** in city waste. Just imagine what is in city waste; YUCK!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 31, 2003 8:28 pm 
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KHWOZ-
I mentioned cheap in my note above, like $6-8 a bag. Maybe DcHall can tell us how that compares to some of Texas' best. I use Bioform dry and liquid as well as my own compost tea so I really don't have much experience with Biosolids. I know Howard recommends this stuff, partially because he doesn't want to see up fill up landfills.
Tony M


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 01, 2003 11:27 am 
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The use of biosolids is an emotional, enflaming issue. I would rather just stick to the question at hand rather than getting into the emotions. If there is some call for an emotional discussion, I can set that up deliberately with a sticky on a separate topic. Actually the best place for that would be on the Compost forum. I'll ask Capt Compost if he wants to set that up.

When comparing prices you have to go to cost per square foot because each product is used at different rates.

Compost is used at a rate of 1 cubic yard per 1,000 square feet. This is almost invisible when spread out. But the cost for compost is $32/yard plus delivery of $30 (up to 3 yards).

Lets say you need 3 yards of compost. Cost is $96 plus $30 or $126. It covers 3,000 square feet. So the cost per square foot is $0.042.

Now lets compare with Dillo-Dirt. Cost is $20/cubic yard and is used identically to compost. So the cost for the same amount would be $0.03/square foot.

Milorganite goes on at a rate of 16 pounds per 1,000 square feet. So a 40 pound bag covers 2,500 square feet. Cost per bag is $5.00. So the cost per square foot is $5/2,500 or $0.002 per square foot.

From this you can see that compost costs 21 times more than Milorganite and Dillo-Dirt costs 15 times more on a per square foot basis.

Now if you want to talk about compost teas, you can make enough compost tea to cover an acre with a gallon of compost. The cost per square foot of compost tea is $0.00002. So it costs about 1,000 times less than compost to cover the same area. It might not keep deer away (and I bet you could bury a rose bush in Milorganite and the deer would flock to it), but it is the cheapest thing you can put on your landscape.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2003 11:55 am 
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Is Dillo-Dirt available in San Antonio? Do you know of a source? It sounds interesting and I would like to try it.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 09, 2003 11:03 am 
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I'm not sure that Dillo-Dirt is available in SA. Reason being is that San Antonio has it's own biosolids recycling program. The contract is with Garden-Ville. The product is called Alamo-Gro and is available for $20/yard at Garden-Ville locations.

For your info, Garden-Ville also has the contract to make Dillo-Dirt in Austin, so the two products are just about identical.

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 Post subject: cr-p
PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2003 5:28 pm 
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Check out the forem index, "Organics in the news" dated Oct. 17 by Enzyme11 and tell me what you think about using city sewage in your yard.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 12:32 am 
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Sounds prudent to at least ask about dioxin levels in the biosolids products you use.

Here's a direct link to the article referenced.

http://dirtdoctor.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2191

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 10:25 am 
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Location: Rowlett TX
I use Milorganite and have had excellent results as far as

1. Excellent greening (iron content as high as Ironite)
2. No burning
3. Deer? Heck, the smell after the first rain keeps salesmen away!

Not clear on the dioxin issue - assuming it is in there is it more dangerous in a product like those mentioned than it would be in a landfill????????

Seems like one way or another whatever is in the sludge winds up in your faucet?

I wonder what is in the chemical fertilizer products!


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 Post subject: cr-p
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 5:30 pm 
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:evil: Why would anyone with any sense at all use a product that contains something harmfull? If you can avoid a harmfull product, do so; if you can't, minimize your use! Am I missing something ?? Yes, it is better in the landfill; at least it is contained to one area. The only reason it ends up in your faucet is that you and other people use it and don't care (everyone else is doing it, so what). :cry:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:35 pm 
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Location: Rowlett TX
KHWOZ - you are very rude. I would prefer it if you think before you question my sense or level of caring because your post would lead an objective person to question whether someone with any sense would care so little as to give their opinion so loudly without providing a basis in fact for their opinion. So please - share your wisdom and explain to us what the toxicity of Milorganite is and be specific - there is ample scientific research on this product. Note - Scientific, peer-reviewed research and generalizations are not the same thing.

See, I am one of those organic folks who likes to see facts - bring me facts on Milorganite from something like the material safety data sheet or a peer- reviewed study (they exist on Milorganite - Milwaukees sludge pre-treatment is stellar - do your own research and come back).

The above refererenced article does suggest that certain sludge products would be harmful to use on food crops over a long period of time. A lot of this research comes from Europe where the sludge in question had a significantly different chemical makeup in areas like heavy metals like lead - something that Milwaukee's pre-treatment program has significantly reduced.

As to your belief that when you put something in a landfill it will stay there? Uhm.... no offense, but where is this landfill, Fantasyland? Where does the rain go after it falls on your landfill my friend? Guess what? Rain water is the absolute best thing in the world for dissolving things and moving them - especially when it falls in a relatively high air pollution area (like where you live) and comes down somewhat acidic. Put that water in a glass jar for a while and test for dissolved glass in the water - let me know how it turns out, kay? Please don't take my word on that - do your own research. By the way - guess where the sewage sludge from most cities not making it into fertilizer winds up? Rivers. If you take a gander at those blue squiggly things on your US map you'll find most of them run north to south (you live in the south).

I may very well be lacking in sense and caring as you suggest but I do know a fair amount about water. While i was working on my PhD I paid my way through school developing water purification systems and raising various rain forest fish species so I am not ignorant in this area. Rather than ask you to take my word for it I would suggest that you take a water sample from a city water supply and take it to a lab. Let me know how many distinct toxins you find in trace amounts coming from your tap and re-evaluate your previous statement about that magic landfill where all evil things are contained never to do further harm.... just don't hold your breath.

After a 1 micron prefilter, activated carbon and a very high quality reverse osmosis filter you will get something pretty darned near to 2 parts hydrogen and 1 part oxygen - but you ain't gettin that from your faucet - ooops. I've got 20 bucks says that a complete list of all impurities has over 300 line items if you are on city water - many of those will be carcinogens and you will find all manner of things from a landfill somewhere north of you. Wanna bet?

I would also invite your evidence that Milorganite is a harmful product when used as a lawn fertilizer. Please enlighten me because the research i have reviewed on Milorganite suggests otherwise. In fact, I have yet to find a dissenting opinion on that particular product that contains peer-reviewed research indicating that this product is harmful. If it is, i need to know since I use it and would welcome those facts. I tend to go by fact, not hysteria or rumor - give me facts instead of blanket statements based on poor science and I will gladly listen.

...and next time you decide to question someone's sense or level of caring may I suggest that before hitting reply you carefully consider whether your opinion is based on facts or 'something your sister-in-laws friend who REALLY KNOWS THIS STUFF' said. You see, while an organic approach to gardening is clearly superior in sooooo many ways to the alternative it will not become the dominant method until such time as proponents of the philosophy can explain the benefits of organic and dangers of chemical approaches in a civil, polite and rational manner without resorting to hysteria and unsubstantiated rumors of doom and destruction. If you can't state your belief politely, at least do some research and make certain that your facts back up what you are saying - and then document it.

Am I nuts, or is that a reasonable request?
Two things -
1. Back up your belief that Milorganite is a harmful product with facts - details and concentrations and scientific evidence of your claim. Be specific, make a clear argument based on the data without preconceptions.

2. Tell me about this magic landfill where anything is even REMOTELY contained and does not leech it's way into the groundwater, I need to move there ASAP.

OR.... perhaps you could come back with "Maybe I spoke out of turn"

Hopefully I am being more fair with you than you bothered to be with me but that's me - I probably care too much.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Oct 21, 2003 12:46 pm 
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Did not mean to be rude. The point I am trying to make is: if you know (or even suspect) that something you don't have to use is harmfull, why use it? I am not referring to Milorganite itself but sewage sludge in general. Yes, landfills leak but why spread the stuff out even further? I won't respond to this any more since it is getting non-productive.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:08 pm 
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I see the honeymoon is over :D

Yes, reasonable people have different opinions. Let's try hard to recognize when people are stating an opinion or whether it is a "fact" or something they observed.

As I said before, this is often an emotional issue. I have no problem with KHWOZ not liking to use it or wanting to use it. I would use it because it is less expensive, but I make enough compost for myself at home (leaves and horse manure).

We got a lot of bad press here recently concerning the spreading of "sewage sludge," on farms. Turns out it was a different class of stuff. It still tested negative for heavy metals, but it was only partially digested. It was full of human pathogens going right out onto the field. The smell is what knocked out the neighbors. Anyway, that is a different class of stuff. That is the raw material that goes into Milorganite, Hou-Actinite, Dillo-Dirt, and Alamo-Gro. But once these other products are either heated or completely composted, there is no human pathogens left. Zero! In fact, they have to test "Zero" for about 25 weeks in a row or the product gets recycled into another batch that has to test zero for 25 weeks in a row.

Anyway, I can understand why folks don't like the various incarnations of biosolids, but your statements need to be clear enough that we can decipher whether they are fact or opinion.

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