How Your Donations to Houston’s Sewer System End Up Paying Off for the City

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.”

Photo: Thomas Stone & Materials

It Takes a Village

4 Comment

  • One spring, a former neighbor of mine spread Hou-Actinite on his entire front lawn. The grass greened up nicely, but the smell from that fertilizer was horrible and lasted for weeks.

  • Well good on Hou-Actinite! to stay in business. We really do need to recycle our waste – all the phosphorous is going down the drain into the seas…

  • Alright, do I have to be the one to say it?? This article is a giant load of crap.

  • It’s milorganite. No way to tell what’s really in it. For those not part of the Facebook group The Lawn Care Nut, this is biosolid fertilizer. That means human poop. If you want a great organic fertilizer, get Microlife’s Sweet Green. And it smells good.