That’s 50 pounds of the city’s own name-brand organic fertilizer — dubbed Hou-Actinite — in the photo above. Every Houston resident gets the urge to help produce it sometimes through contributions to the municipal sewer system — which eventually arrive at one of the 2 largest treatment facilities in the city: the 69th St. Wastewater Treatment Plant off Clinton Dr. near Wayside and Buffalo Bayou, or the Almeda Sims plant near W. Orem Dr. and Sims Bayou. There, the raw material is heated until dry, sterilized, and ground into pellets of what the city calls “Class-A” product; in other words: top-shelf stuff. About 32,000 tons of it are made each year and shipped off to nurseries, as well as bulk agricultural buyers.
It’s nothing new; the city patented the process back in 1949:
Its claim to the Hou-Actinite name has since expired, though the fertilizer still retails under that moniker.
Birds love it, too — according to the Chronicle‘s Rebecca Elliott — so much that the 69th St. plant installed new netting and doors at an open-air area earlier this year to prevent them from flying into the mixers that produce the stuff, Each month, hundreds died that way, she reported, and those that didn’t caused other problems, “pooping on the concrete floor and workers’ hard hats.”
- City hopes netting will cut bird deaths, poop at sludge plant [Houston Chronicle ($)]
- City finds fertile market for waste [HBJ]
Photo: Thomas Stone & Materials