Ask Us: Where does the sludge from septic tanks and portable toilets go?

Published 7:56 pm Monday, August 15, 2022

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to

SALISBURY — A reader sent in a question wondering where waste from septic tanks and portable toilets go when its disposed of. According to Rowan County’s Environmental Health department, all waste is taken to one of Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ Wastewater Treatment Plants, Grant Creek or Town Creek both in Salisbury.

On average, these plants treat approximately 8.7 million gallons of wastewater every day before it is discharged into the Yadkin River.

The biosolids that come from treating wastewater are properly treated and processed, meeting strict U.S. EPA guidelines for land application. It can then be used to fertilize fields growing crops, but Salisbury-Rowan Utilities’ treated biosolids are only applied to animal agricultural land.