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Green Acres

GREEN ACRES FARM IN KERN COUNTY

In August 2000 LA Sanitation (LASAN) purchased a 4,688-acre farm named Green Acres in Kern County to ensure a reliable place to manage LASAN's biosolids produced at the wastewater treatment plants.

CROPS

Crops currently in production:
  • Sudan
  • Milo
  • Alfalfa
  • Wheat
  • Corn

FARM OBJECTIVES

  • Managing biosolids in an environmentally sound, acceptable, and cost-effective manner
  • Complying with all applicable federal, state and local laws and regulations
  • Beneficially using Exceptional Quality Biosolids
  • Maintaining a site that conforms to national Biosolids EMS standards
  • Requiring our land appliers to comply with the provisions of the CWEA Manual of Good Practice for Agricultural Land Applications of Biosolids

BACKGROUND

The farm is located approximately 16 miles southwest of Bakersfield and one mile northeast of Lake Buena Vista. The Farm has been a beneficial reuse site for biosolids generated by the LASAN since 1994. The biosolids are used as a soil conditioner and fertilizer to help promote growth on sites where chemical fertilizers would otherwise have to be used to produce crops. Farm activities produce non-food chain crops such as:
  • Wheat
  • Corn
  • Alfalfa
  • Oats
  • Milo
  • Sudan grass
After crops are harvested, they are sold as feedstock to local dairies.

Green Acres Farm has been a beneficial reuse site for recycled water generated by the City of Bakersfield since 1989. The use of recycled water is governed by the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board Order Number 88-172. The crops are surface irrigated with recycled water using a border check system. When recycled water quantities are insufficient to satisfy crop demands, there are two other sources available:
  • Groundwater, which is pumped to the surface through a network of on-site wells
  • Water purchased from Kern Water District

The biosolids are applied in bulk and managed as a Class A, EQ product in compliance with all applicable federal, state, and local regulations.

As a best management practice tool LA Sanitation looks to, as guidance, the California Water Environment Association (CWEA) Manual of Good Practice for Agriculture Land Application of Biosolids. At this time, LASAN contracts with Responsible Biosolids Management, Inc. (RBM) for the loading, transporting, and beneficial use of biosolids at Green Acres Farm.

RBM land applies biosolids with conventional agricultural equipment such as manure spreaders, tractors, and front-end loaders. The biosolids are typically incorporated into the soil by means of plowing or disking. LASAN typically incorporates its biosolids into the soil within 30 minutes after it is off-loaded at the farm.

LEGAL CHALLENGE AGAINST KERN COUNTY BIOSOLIDS BAN

Kern County voters approved a ban on the import of biosolids with the passage of Measure E in 2006. The City of Los Angeles, along with other affected Southern California counties and agencies, filed a federal lawsuit which was dismissed in November 2010. For more information click here.

CROP END USE

Crops from Green Acres Farm are harvested and sold to several dairies as feedstock. As of 2014 the harvested product is also taken to the LAPD Mounted Platoon Stables and the Los Angeles Zoo near Griffith Park.

TERMINAL ISLAND RENEWABLE ENERGY PROJECT:
DEEP WELL INJECTION

LA Sanitation and GeoMechanics Technology in collaboration with the US Environmental Protection Agency and with research support from the US Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation has embarked on an innovative technology to inject biosolids deep below the geological subsurface at its Terminal Island Water Reclamation Plant (TIWRP).
The Terminal Island Renewable Energy Project, known as TIRE, the first of its kind in the nation, has been in operation for over four years. TIRE, which is being demonstrated under a US EPA Underground Injection Control (UIC) permit places biosolids in depleted deep subsurface oil and gas compounds to generate methane gas that can ultimately be used to produce an environmentally safe renewable energy, while the carbon dioxide is sequestered. Three wells have been drilled to a depth of approximately 5,300 feet beneath the TIWRP. So far, TIRE has successfully injected over 200 million gallons of bio-slurry material, which includes:
  • brine;
  • treated effluent;
  • digested sludge; and
  • re-slurried biosolids.

Currently all 50 tons of biosolids produced at TIWRP is being managed at the TIRE facility and 150 tons from the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. The injection well is accepting the material and formation response is good. The operations are continuously monitored daily and data is reported to the US EPA and a Technical Advisory Committee.
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