Customer Diversification is Key to Marketing of Biosolid Product for Ocean County, New Jersey


In the United States, most public wastewater treatment agencies with beneficial-use biosolids management programs utilize Class B biosolids. Many of these agencies have concerns about their Class B programs, and therefore, are examining Class A treatment processes. Within the family of Class A technologies, thermal drying is one of the fastest growing management methods. A critical question with this technology is how successful the product marketing is likely to be and whether the marketing effort should be by the public agency itself or a contracted service.

In 2005, CDM undertook a comprehensive evaluation of the biosolid management program of the Ocean County Utilities Authority, New Jersey (CDM, 2006). As part of that effort CDM examined the 10-year history of Class A thermally dried product marketing by the Authority. This information should prove quite useful to public agencies contemplating biosolids management by thermal drying and needing to decide whether marketing should be selfmanaged
or contracted to a specialty firm.

The Ocean County Utilities Authority (OCUA) operates three secondary wastewater treatment facilities ranging in size from 20 million gallons per day (mgd) to 32 mgd. The biosolids at two of the facilities are thickened and hauled to the Authority’s Central Water Pollution Control Facility. There the imported biosolids are blended with thickened digested biosolids from the Central Facility, dewatered and dried to produce a pellet product known as OCEANGROTM.

OCUA has one of the most successful biosolids marketing programs in the United States. In 2005, all 9,700 tons of product was beneficially used with over three-quarters of the total sold at an average price of approximately $25 per ton. The Authority expects to see about a 50-percent increase in product production during the next 20-years as the service area grows and develops. To ensure future demand the Authority has expanded the geographical area in-state for its product utilization and will explore new customer opportunities such as use of product as a fuelsubstitute. This paper presents detailed information regarding a number of factors that are important to any marketing program, including product demonstration, customer relations, advertising methods and contingency planning.

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