Biosolids Product Marketing Program

2023 NACo Achievement Award Winner

Howard County, Md., MD

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About the Program

Category: County Resiliency (Best in Category)

Year: 2023

The program was conceived during the design phase of the capital upgrade to the solids handling side of the LPWRP, Addition #8 in 2015. The capital project built a dryer facility to create a dry biosolids product that would reduce disposal costs and potentially be a marketable product. Near the end of 2020 the dryers were started and HoCo Bio was born. Howard County, in conjunction with Material Matters (consultant), began this program to develop and market a biosolids product that was saleable rather than paying to remove it. A market survey was done to see what the most desirable characteristics were, what customers might be willing to pay and what markets were possible. HoCo Bio was registered with the state as a fertilizer, a label was created and ads placed in local farming publications. The response has been good, with a handful of interested parties. In 2022, trial loads were delivered to 4 potential customers which resulted in a short-term purchase agreement for HoCo Bio. The overall costs reductions have been significant. Total disposal costs in 2020 were $1,902,000. 2021 dropped to $467,000 and in 2022 the disposal costs dropped to $270,000. This program is continuing and is expected to ultimately create a revenue stream as all of the HoCo Bio product is marketed.

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