Human fertilizer being used on OahuUPDATED 6:55 PM HST Feb 25, 2014Video Transcript
Many residents may be surprised to learn that fertilizer made from human waste is being used right here on Oahu. Today the city released a report on where all of it ends up. KITV4's Andrew Pereira joins us with details... Andrew? Paula, Yunji... thousands of pounds of the fertilizer is ending up where both kids and adults go to play. This egg-shaped digester at the Sand Island Wastewater Treatment Plant has been turning out fertilizer pellets since 2006. The $40.6 million project helps drastically reduce the amount of sewage sludge that goes into the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. But it's where the fertilizer pellets end up that may make SOME people, well, a little squeamish. RON MENOR: "WHENEVER YOU TALK ABOUT THESE PELLETS THERE MAY BE CONCERNS AMONG MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC REGARDING WHETHER OR NOT THESE PELLETS PRESENT HEALTH RISKS." Last year, a majority of the pellets came here, to Niu Nursery on Sand Island Access Road, which sells it to other nurseries, plant growers and even farms. According to a new city report, the digester produced 2,926 tons of the stuff in 2013. And here's a breakdown of the pellets' top users: Niu Nursery took nearly 88- percent, followed by Yamada Farms and the Waimanalo Gulch Landfill. Small percentages were also used at the Waipio Soccer Complex, the Honolulu Zoo and three parks: Kokohead, Hans L'orange and Thomas Square. The percentages may seem tiny, but when you do the conversion from tons, the soccer complex received about 100-thousand pounds of pellets, while the three parks received about 1,200 pounds each. Keep in mind the Environmental Protection Agency lists the pellets as a "Class A biosolid"... which means they contain no detectable levels of pathogens and won't make anyone sick. STANLEY CHANG: "WELL AT THIS POINT, ACCORDING TO ALL THE TESTS AND SO FORTH THAT WE HAVE, WE DON'T THINK THAT THERE'S ANY TYPE OF SAFETY RISK AND IF THERE WERE WE WOULD OBVIOUSLY BE VERY, VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THAT." Councilman Ron Menor wants the city to go a step further and is following up with the mayor. RON MENOR: "IF THE CITY ADMINISTRATION AND THE PARKS DEPARTMENT WANT TO STILL PROCEED WITH THE USE OF THESE PELLETS THEN I THINK THAT THEY SHOULD PROVIDE MORE SPECIFIC ASSURANCES TO THE RESIDENTS OF MY DISTRICT THAT THESE PELLETS WILL NOT PRESENT ANY HEALTH HAZARDS TO THE USERS OF THE PARK." The city receives no money from the sale of the pellets, most of which remains here in Hawaii.