The City of Calgary has been involved in the land application of biosolids on agricultural land in Alberta for more than 30 years with programs that are well established, responsible, innovative and progressive.

Early Willow Growth using Calgary's biosolids

What we do
At the City of Calgary, we apply liquid biosolids on agricultural land as part of our Calgro program. We also apply biosolids to improve marginal agricultural land, which is land where the soil quality is poor. Adding biosolids improves the fertility of these lands and builds the soil for future crops. The goal of this project is to assess the potential of biosolids to improve Alberta's arable land base.

biosolids land application Calgary
Biosolids are applied to farms as part of the Calgro Program. Some of Calgary's biosolids are liquid, so they need to be applied similar to a liquid fertilizer. This tanker truck squirts the liquid biosolids right below the surface of the soil where it provides nutrients for crops and improves the soil. 

Beginning in Fall 2017, the City also began sending biosolids to a brand new City of Calgary Composting Facility. At the compost facility, biosolids are blended with woody material and composted to produce a Category A (Class A) compost. 

Did you know?
In 2017, The City of Calgary entered into a partnership with the Calgary Zoo to provide all of the Zoo’s current and future veterinary recommended browse and forage willow requirements. Many animals at the zoo eat willow, and the Zoo needed a more consistent supply. A continuous and reliable source of willows has the potential to significantly increase the Zoo's operational efficiencies, create long term savings in time, labor and cost, and allow Zoo staff to focus on the needs of the animals.

feeding willow to one of many lucky zoo animals
An unusual customer - feeding willow to one of many lucky zoo animals! The willow was grown with biosolids at the City of Calgary Demonstration Plantation.

The partnership with the Zoo was a great fit, since the City of Calgary has approximately 400 hectares of willow plantation. The willow plantation is on marginal land that benefits greatly from biosolids. The plantation is a demonstration site which provides an operational scale willow plantation as a source of woody biomass feedstock. With over 5 million willows planted, the plantation is one of the largest willow plantations in North America.  The City is currently exploring beneficial use opportunities for the willow biomass.