How Do Chicago's Parks Keep Their Grass So Green? Human Poop

By Selena Fragassi in News on Aug 5, 2015 3:50PM


Chicago parks have gone to—well, you know the saying.

The Park District has started using an organic fertilizer that is one part last night’s dinner. Yep, these so-called ‘biosolids,’ produced by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, are created by extracting and treating solid particles from the city’s waste stream (a.k.a. human waste) for a natural compound loaded with nitrogen and phosphorous. Just what healthy plants need.

We know what you’re thinking. but before reading about this, you probably couldn't tell the difference. The fertilizer looks just like dirt, and as far as the smell goes, residents near Lincoln Square’s Winnemac Park, where the mixture is often used, describe it as having a rather kitty litter box-type odor, according to DNAinfo. We’re not sure how kitty droplets translate to human deuces, but that option sounds a whole lot prettier.

In fact biosolids are nothing new. Gardeners and farmers have been using them “for ages” according to the article. And the Environmental Protection Agency, in charge of regulating them and making sure they are safe for contact, says they are cleared to be used in all 50 states. The agency even has an FAQ for those understandably freaked out by this phenomenon.

But perhaps we shouldn’t poo-poo it. “We have seen great results from it in terms of the health of the grass," Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner told DNAinfo. So when you use the bathroom, remember: Chicago's parks are counting on you.