Taney Co. officials have secured a $3 million grant to enhance the sewage treatment facilities in the area. Instead of creating effluent sludge that is sprayed on nearby farmland, the new facilities will create solid, usable fertilizer.
Rick Ziegenfuss, the city administrator of Hollister, also heads the collaborative efforts of Branson, Hollister, Forsyth and other cities in Stone and Taney Counties.
He says the new facilities will create cleaner, more sustainable byproducts of human waste.
"We're trying to take a product that has a lower content of moisture so that it dissolves more slowly and becomes part of the environment," he said. "Every step we take along this path makes us more sustainable and gives us a brighter future."
Garrett Anderson, the economic development director for Branson, agreed. Anderson said the cities in the waste coalition would pay to have their sewage treated in Branson and Hollister.
Branson will supply the bulk of the influent waste. The new facilities could potentially pump out more than 1100 tons of fertilizer each year.
Anderson said the fertilizer could potentially be sold to area farmers and gardeners in a form that contains fewer pathogens than the existing sludge.
"The final product of this process is dry. It looks a lot like dirt. It's a dry, dark fertilizer substance that could be used on a family garden," he said.
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