Michigan landfill using septic waste to accelerate decomposition, create renewable energy

By Arlene Karidis, Waste Dive.

  • Smiths Creek Landfill in St. Clair County, MI, is using human fecal waste from residential septic tanks to accelerate decomposition of waste, increasing the landfill’s life while generating renewable energy. This "septage bioreactor" concept is vetted through a research and development project conducted by Novi, MI-based environmental engineering consultants CTI and Associates.
  • In addition to facilitating quicker stabilization of waste mass, "Treating the septage within the landfill reduces the likelihood of contamination of county surface waters through land application," said Matthew Williams, landfill and resource recovery manager for Smiths Creek Landfill, to Waste360.
  • The septage bioreactor generates close to 40% of the landfill's gas, enough to supply two generators that produce up to 3.2 megawatts of electricity, which could power 1,900 homes.