What are Biosolids?
Biosolids are the nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of domestic sewage at Meridian’s wastewater treatment facility. In 2012, we generated over 4,300 tons of biosolids which were disposed of at the Ada County Hidden Hollow Landfill.
What is the Difference between Biosolids and Sewage Sludge?
This is like asking the question, “What is the difference between compost and yard waste?” In both cases, bacteria are breaking down the organic matter and producing a beneficial organic material! Composting takes place under aerobic conditions (in the presence of oxygen) while Meridian’s biosolids are produced within an anaerobic environment (in the absence of oxygen), and then centrifuged in a process known as “dewatering.” At this point, the end product is a black-grey semisolid soil-like material.
Composting Biosolids with Grass Clippings and Wood Waste
Meridian’s Public Works Department encourages innovation and supports development of pilot projects to explore ways to operate in a practical and sustainable way. Toward that end, the Wastewater and Environmental Divisions completed a very successful Biosolids Composting Pilot Project at our Wastewater Treatment Facility. The purpose of the project was to evaluate the achievability of attaining Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified Class A Biosolids which meant demonstrating the end product, through lab analysis, meets EPA required reduced pathogen limits.
We secured the composting expertise of Mr. Roger Wood of Compost West, Inc., to guide the operations. Compost West, Inc., is well known for their very successful composting operations on Idaho dairies since 1990. We composted the biosolids with residential grass clippings and wood chips outside, in long rows or “open windrows”. The materials were mixed to provide an optimum blend of carbon (brown materials) and nitrogen (green materials) to maximize the performance of the microorganisms. These good bacteria break down the organic matter and produce the stable organic end product – compost!
Following EPA’s strict treatment protocols, Mr. Wood managed the windrows so that the temperature of the compost mix was maintained at 131⁰F or higher for 15 days or longer. During this period of elevated temperatures, we were required to turn (or flip) the windrows a minimum of five times.
Our biosolids composting pilot project was a success! Rigorous pre- and post-analytical results proved the end product had easily met EPA’s requirements for ‘exceptional quality’ Class A Biosolids.
Beneficial Uses of Class A Biosolids
Recycling biosolids is good for the environment. Class A Biosolids are a humus-like material containing high concentrations of organic carbon and other nutrients (such as nitrogen and phosphorus) that are beneficial to soils and plant growth. When properly applied and managed, biosolids can provide essential plant nutrients, improve soil structure and tilth, add organic matter, enhance moisture retention and reduce soil erosion. While Meridian currently does not make our biosolids available for beneficial applications, we continue to research, innovate and conduct pilot projects in preparation for the future when it becomes financially and environmentally sustainable to do so.
For more information please contact:
Mollie Mangerich, Environmental Programs Manager at (208) 489-0379 / email@example.com.
By Tom Barry, Public Works Department Director
Each spring, the City of Meridian Water Division conducts routine flushing of its more than 400 miles of water mains to clear out any naturally occurring sediment that may have accumulated over the winter months. Without irrigation needs, water consumption during these colder months drops dramatically and slows the flow of water through our City’s underground piping system. This decrease in flow allows mineral deposits to accumulate in pipes and contribute to water color problems.
Flushing is required to remove this harmless sediment, which works by moving water through the pipes at a high velocity creating a scouring action. That water and sediment is then discharged through a nearby outlet such as a fire hydrant. Use of this flushing technique is a necessary practice vital to the health of our City’s water system.
This year’s flushing activities will take place between March 4th and April 5th.
During this flushing period, your tap water may temporarily appear a light red, brown or blackish color and could clog small household water lines and filters. The water pressure inside your home may also fluctuate at times. This is only temporary and regular water pressure will resume once the flushing period is complete in your area.
Here are a few tips to help clear your water lines:
- Simply run cold-water faucets in your bathtubs at full stream for a few minutes until the water runs clear again.
- To avoid any unwanted sediment build-up in your hot water heater, always clear your lines using cold-water taps.
- During this flushing time, check your clothes washers and icemakers for any sediment before using. When laundering clothes, wait until the water runs clear at the tap, then wash a load of dark clothes first.
- If your faucets seem to be clogged or running slowly, simply remove the screens and rinse out.
Did You Know?
It is recommended that you drain your hot water tank annually to help clear sediment.
*Remember to turn off power to your water heater to prevent damage to it; please check manufacturer instructions on how to do this properly.
An estimated flushing schedule, along with helpful tips for minimizing the potential impacts of discolored water, can be found online at: www.meridiancity.org/springflush/. Additionally, we now offer a free e-mail notification service giving daily updates of our current flushing locations and times. If you would like to sign up for this notification service please contact the Meridian Water Division at 208-888-5242 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Questions/Comments? Please contact the Meridian Water Division at 208-888-5242 or email us at email@example.com.
by Mayor Tammy
Recently, the City of Meridian and representatives from 80 Idaho cities sent President Barack Obama a letter of concern regarding the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado and his Administration’s decision to not enforce federal drug laws. Those of us who signed the letter believe we need to have a consistent and clear national drug-free policy. Failure to do so will have negatives effects in our communities, state, and country and the worldwide war against drugs.
Many of the city officials who signed the letter are members of the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC). This week, AIC members will be in the Treasure Valley to discuss legislative issues with members of the Idaho State Legislature. Among the items they will hear about is the need for the State of Idaho to be firm about our views on this issue, we do not support legalizing drugs - any illegal drug - in Idaho. It is clear that Idaho is a target of pro-marijuana organizations; as communities we need to take a stand against this occurring.
The social and economic harm that occurs with the legalization or acceptance of this controlled substance cannot be overlooked. Especially for our children, who receive the message that marijuana and other drug use is okay if legalized. Neighboring states that have legalized marijuana for 'medical' use have found it not only impossible to enforce but have seen large increases in the number of users, particularly in children. Legalizing marijuana will affect our public education system, productivity in the workplace, an escalation in the number of impaired drivers on Idaho roads, and in many other areas of our lives.
As the Chair of the AIC Drug Task Force, I will join other Mayors and Council members in asking the Idaho State Legislature to send a message that the State of Idaho is opposed to all efforts to legalize marijuana for any purpose by passing a resolution. In addition, we are asking the State Legislature and Governor to send a Joint Memorial to President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder requesting the federal government take appropriate action to enforce federal drug laws in all states and uphold international treaties relating to the control of illegal drugs in the world.
When the time comes, I hope you will stand with us against efforts to legalize marijuana. If you would like more information or would like to get involved in our local efforts to prevent drug use and abuse, I encourage you to attend an upcoming meeting of the Mayor’s Anti-Drug Coalition (MADC). The meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. at the Meridian Police Department. To learn more, visit www.meridianmadc.org.
by Steve Siddoway, Meridian Parks & Recreation Director
At the start of this new year, I want to reflect on some of our core values. We do our best to be examples of the city-wide core values of Customer Service, Accountability, Respect, and Excellence (CARE). This is what we call The Meridian Way of doing things. How do we do this? We focus on Putting Meridian First through the implementation of the three core values of the Parks & Recreation Department: Quality, Community, and Fun.
- Quality: We strive for well-designed parks with a high amenity value and lasting materials. We strive for quality in our maintenance of existing parks. We are always looking to improve the depth and quality of the recreation programs we offer. We seek to improve on our wonderful special events for the entire community to enjoy. Our mission is to build a legacy of quality.
- Community: Research has shown that Meridian’s primary demographic is young families with children; therefore, our park amenities, recreation programs, and special events all need to be family-friendly. At the same time, we need to understand and respond to the needs of our growing elderly population. Special events (CableONE Movie Night in Meridian, Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony, etc.) are great tools to engage the entire community and for building a sense of connection.
- Fun: Yes, we are affectionately known as the Department of Fun. This is really what it’s all about at the end of the day—family-friendly fun opportunities for the citizens of Meridian. We provide opportunities for play, family outings, sports, friends, and active lifestyles. We help bring the balance to work-life balance. We help build quality of life. It is fun!
by Mayor Tammy
One of the reasons my husband and I were drawn to Meridian over 20 years ago is because we knew it would be a safe place to raise our family. Over the years as our kids grew so did the City, but one thing remained the same – Meridian has always been a safe place to call home.
We live in a safe community because we have dedicated police officers looking out for us, including Meridian Police Chief Jeff Lavey. Now in his fifth year as Chief of Police, Chief Lavey leads a department that takes a proactive policing approach to policing. One example is MPD’s IMPACT team. This specialized team has made dozens of arrests, removed hundreds of pounds of drugs off the street and returned stolen property to dozens of people each year. I am not the only one who’s taken notice of Chief Lavey and great work of the department he leads. This past October, Chief Lavey was elected President of the Idaho Chiefs of Police Association (ICOPA).
The Association is made up of Police Chiefs and officers from cities all across the State. ICOPA was formed so police departments could easily share ideas and collectively figure out the best ways to enforce laws and protect Idahoans. Next week, members of ICOPA will be holding an annual training conference in the Treasure Valley. Being President of ICOPA is a huge responsibility but Chief Lavey has proved he is up to the challenge.
This year, Chief Lavey wants to focus on uniting police departments with their local sheriff’s office. As he explains it, “We go to the same academy, enforce the same laws and deal with the same people.” By building those relationships Jeff thinks we will build a stronger, safer Idaho. He will be working closely with the President of the Idaho Sheriffs’ Association, who just happens to be Ada County’s Sheriff Gary Raney, to reach this goal. This June they’ve planned a conference for police officers and sheriff’s deputies.
As President of ICOPA, Chief Lavey will also be keeping a close eye on what laws are being proposed in Idaho. One law he and ICOPA are already prepared to take a solid stance against is the legalization of marijuana for medical or recreational use. Chief Lavey and the other officers in ICOPA have seen the dangers of using drugs and have spent years trying to keep them off of our streets. They know what a detriment it would be to Idaho to legalize any type of drug and plan to do all they can to keep that from happening.
I feel lucky to have Chief Lavey leading Meridian’s Police Department. He has done an outstanding job serving our community. I can only imagine the positive impacts he will make as ICOPA’s President. I know he will do amazing things for ICOPA and the safety of our State.
by Mayor Tammy
This week the City of Meridian will be hosting a Legislative Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, January 16, 2013 at 6:30 pm at Meridian City Hall. The 2013 Legislative Session has begun; the Governor delivered his State of the State address and the Legislature’s in session. From almost every corner around our community, there are a number of questions and comments about what the upcoming legislative session has in store.
Area legislators in Districts 14, 20, 21, and 22 each tend to host their own town hall events. However what makes this meeting unique, is in addition to inviting our Representatives and Senators all to one place we have also extended an invitation to the leadership in the House and Senate. I’m happy to say that we will be joined by some of these State leaders, who are elected by their peers in the legislature to serve all citizens of Idaho.
We did a similar event last year with the leadership from the Senate which was well received. It is because of the positive response from citizens and Senate Leadership, we extended the invitation to Senate Leadership and expanded it to the House leadership in addition to our area representatives. This Town Hall meeting is a time for City officials, community stakeholders, and our citizens an opportunity to share comments and concerns important to us. As Idaho's third largest city and one that continues to grow, we hope to provide perspective to our issues and gain feedback from our state's leadership.
There are many important topics our City leaders plan to share with those in attendance. The topics will range from issues we have in public safety (police and fire) and challenges of a changing culture of how these services are financed and fairness to our city residents; the potential impact of changes in the personal property tax and what it might mean to the services cities provide; and our view on several other topics of concern. The Mayor’s Youth Advisory Council will share with these leaders the focus of their efforts for the 2012-13 year.
In addition, our partners in the community from the Joint School District No. 2, our urban renewal area the Meridian Development Corporation, the Meridian Chamber of Commerce, and The CORE our industry cluster, will be presenting information as well. This is a great opportunity to hear what needs our educators have in light of the repeal of propositions 1, 2, and 3 and what our business community believes is necessary for them to help grow our economy.
This promises to be a great opportunity for our community. I hope you will join me in welcoming our state leaders to Meridian and taking part in this Town Hall meeting.
by Mayor Tammy
We recently celebrate the end of 2012 and rang in another chapter in our incredible community! As we begin 2013 and set create our New Year’s resolutions, I would like to share some information and a program called One Church One Child (OCOC).
OCOC is patterned after a national organization which seeks to establish long-term relationships with communities of faith. The ultimate goal of the program is to increase support to Idaho’s children in the adoptive and foster care programs. By providing the necessary support, as communities of faith, we can ensure that no child will age out of foster care and have a forever family to call their own.
In every corner of the state including Meridian, child welfare workers at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare are forming partnerships with faith-based communities to meet this goal. Whether interested in learning about fostering or adopting a child, supporting a foster or adoptive family, or volunteering through acts of service to improve the lives of families and children in Idaho, the response from faith-based communities across the state has been overwhelming. Thus far, over 60 communities of faith have answered the call of OCOC and have formally dedicated their support to its mission. The movement in Meridian is encouraging.
OCOC has had the pleasure of partnering with churches such as Rockharbor Church in Meridian. It heard of OCOC through my Faith Leaders Luncheon and immediately had a heart for the community campaign dedicating a recent service to “Orphan Sunday” which also officially began the OCOC partnership with more to come.
I know many other Meridian churches are considering the same model. As partnerships such as Rockharbor’s continue to grow and flourish, there is hope that significant improvements in the areas of successful family reunification, access to higher education, enhanced economic opportunities and healthy futures for each and every child in Meridian will occur.
As you embark on 2013, I hope you will consider including a resolution of finding a way to help ensure every child – especially those in adoptive and foster care programs – has a chance for success. To find out how you can make a difference in a child’s life through One Church One Child, please call the 2-1-1 Idaho CareLine or visit their website at www.fostercare.idaho.gov.