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Milorganite -- Organic Nitrogen Fertilizer



Milorganite products are manufactured and marketed by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), a regional government agency whose primary focus is to provide water reclamation and flood management to the Greater Milwaukee area, servicing approximately 1.1 million customers in 28 communities. MMSD continues to be a national leader in green solutions and has transformed its approach to water management.

90 Years of Recycling -- The production of Milorganite is one of the nation’s oldest and world’s largest recycling efforts. Since 1926, Milwaukee has safely recycled the nutrient-rich microbes resulting from the city’s water reclamation process into Milorganite organic nitrogen fertilizer. Consumers can safely apply these valuable recycled nutrients with plant growing power in the form of Milorganite.


   
Milorganite products are manufactured and marketed by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD), a regional government agency whose primary focus is providing water reclamation and flood management services for about 1.1 million customers in 28 communities in the Greater Milwaukee Area. Since 1926 MMSD has been a world leader in supplying Organic Nitrogen fertilizers for professional and residential use. While revenue generated through the sale of Milorganite products does not make up for the entire cost to produce and market, our belief in beneficial reuse and recycling makes producing our value added products the clear choice.

What is it?

Milorganite fertilizer is one of the oldest branded fertilizers on the market today.  It is derived from heat-dried microbes that have digested the organic material in wastewater.  Milorganite is manufactured by the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District.  The District captures wastewater from the metropolitan Milwaukee area, including local industries such as MillerCoors.  This water is then treated with microbes to digest nutrients that are found in it.  Cleaned water is then returned to Lake Michigan.  The resulting microbes are then dried, becoming Milorganite fertilizers.  The Milorganite program is one of the world’s largest recycling efforts.

How Do We Make It?

Wastewater enters the Jones Island water reclamation facility, where all solid materials such as sand, boards, shop rags, etc. are removed.  Microbes are added to the leftover water during the activation process, which serves the same purpose as adding yeast to bread.  Oxygen is pumped in to create an ideal environment and the microbes digest the nutrients in the water.

When all the nutrients have been consumed, the microbes die.  Agents are then added to begin clumping the microbes together.  This process of settling and coagulating takes place in quiet sedimentation tanks. 

After settling, the clumped microbes are removed and sent to the Dewatering and Drying building where moisture is removed using belt presses.  This produces a semi-solid form similar to wet cardboard that is subsequently dried in twelve rotary driers at temperatures ranging from 900⁰ - 1200⁰F.  Any surviving pathogens are killed from the extreme hot temperatures.  

The product is sampled thoroughly in our testing process, including over 20 tests per day, which guarantees Milorganite complies with standards for protecting human health and the environment.  It is then ready to be packaged for homeowners, landscapers and golf course superintendents throughout North America.