(Kansas City, Mo.) – This is more than your typical corn harvest. This is an example of how KC Water saves thousands of dollars a year and makes a positive difference in the environment.
Agronomist Tim Walters explains why. “We fertilize with human waste. Digested human waste.”
Tucked along the north side of the Missouri River, Birmingham farm owned and operated by KC Water uses treated waste as fertilizer.
A system of pipes moves the waste from the nearby Blue River Wastewater Treatment Plant to the farm.
“It decreases the cost of having the incinerator on. The incinerator typically costs $20,000 a month to run so the more we can take, the less they have to run the incinerator,” said Walters.
It’s also good for the department’s bottom line: these corn and soybean crops generate roughly a half a million dollars a year in revenue.
Each year, tons of the so-called “black gold” are applied directly to the fields.
“As soon as harvest is over, we’ll set up and start surface applying it with irrigation wheels. We spray it on top and then we disc it in,” said Walters.
The corn isn’t for direct human consumption. Instead it’s shipped to Mexico where it’s turned into cattle feed or ethanol.
“This corn is going to the Bartlett elevator off 210 highway and then it’s blended in with all the other corn in the area, which is typically 15 million acres,” said Walters.
So, go ahead and flush Kansas City. This farm will take it.
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KC Water maintains and operates water treatment and distribution systems, stormwater management systems, and wastewater collection and treatment systems for residential and business customers in Kansas City and for wholesale customers in the Kansas City area. KC Water is primarily funded by fees charged to customers based on their use or impacts on the three utility systems.