My daughter asked me about an alternative to the regular chemical laden lawn fertilizers on the market, and the name I kept coming across was Milorganite. There seemed to be a bit of controversy about the product, so I did a bit of digging.

It might not be a big deal, but it seems reasonable to at least touch on this topic. Milorganite is a biosolids fertilizer produced by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District. The District captures wastewater from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, including local industries.

Some people swear BY it as being one of the finest fertilizers available – being all natural and such. Others swear AT it because of beliefs that it contains toxic heavy metals (cadmium, lead, mercury, and so on) that shouldn’t be used in yards or gardens. The fear of Milorganite is grounded in the metals and how they can be transported from the soil into produce raised in it.

Studies have been done that indicate that the product is safe, even that it contains less toxic material than tap water. Of course, that kind of comment begs a series of questions; whose tap water, how was it processed, comparing how much tap water with how much fertilizer, and so on. Regardless of how Milorganite is processed it is still made from waste materials that many wouldn’t want on their property. Sterilizing eliminates spores and bacteria but not the metals and other toxic substances – hormones and prescription drugs, for example.

Many organic growers won’t use it and others still stand by it as an excellent natural fertilizer. Hence, the controversy continues. I conclude, however, that I am not going to use Milorganite on our small garden plot. Also, I wouldn’t want it spread on my lawn – if I actually had a lawn.

Now, if THEY could find a way to remove all of the chemicals, drugs, and hormones from the biosolids – and drinking water – I’d be much happier.