Relying on fertilizer for new plantings can leave little room for error. Add too much and your lawn or vegetable garden is fried. Add too little and plants won’t meet their full potential.
Sumner Grow, however, made from wastewater biosolids at the Sumner Wastewater Treatment Facility, can be safely placed on lawns and gardens as a soil conditioner.
It all starts when a Bonney Lake or Sumner resident flushes a toilet. Waste then tumbles through a series of pipes before ending up at the Sumner Wastewater Treatment Facility. The wastewater then goes through a screening stage where trash and materials are cleared out. The trash collected from the wastewater is cleaned and compacted to send to a landfill. Next, the wastewater is treated and disinfected to remove 98 percent of pollutants.
The final stage of the process is when the biosolids are heated up and dried at 320 degrees to contain less than eight percent water. The result is a brown-colored, soil-like substance called Sumner Grow.
According to Greg Kongslie, Wastewater Treatment Facility superintendent, the process produces 400 tons of Sumner Grow a year.
Once the biosolids are pasteurized, they are safe for gardeners, landscapers and farmers alike to put on lawns, gardens and more.
“Sumner Grow has good community acceptance,” he said. “There’s a high demand for it, especially in the spring. We will often run out, so we try to build up our inventory.”
Normally, the materials that make up Sumner Grow would be trucked to eastern Washington to be burned off into similar products. Sumner Grow, however, is created right in town, and put to good use by locals. At the Wastewater Treatment Facility, there’s a kiosk out front for citizens to come pick up Sumner Grow for free. Free truck loads or dump-truck loads are also available. Sumner Grow is safe to use in all gardens, even ones where pets or children have access.
“You can’t beat the price,” said Daniel Gates, Sumner Parks Facilities supervisor and the city arborist. “They don’t use any chemicals, they just cook it down. It works equally to commercial fertilizers. It doesn’t have salt, so it is more forgiving than typical fertilizers.”
Gates not only uses Sumner Grow on Sumner parks, but on his own garden.
“I saw results using it on my tomatoes,” he said. “I took a 32-gallon garbage can and spread it on the soil, and used a rototiller. I had to use saw horses and rebar to hold up my tomato plants. I had tomatoes coming out of my ears after using it.”
Sumner Grow is available at 13114 63rd St East in Sumner. To schedule a free truck load of dump-truck load, call 253-299-5760.