Some East Tennesseans are pioneering a new way of turning human waste into odorless soil.
Thursday, the Regional Waste Water Treatment Plant in Maryville hosted an open house.
The plant is reducing its volume of waste and waste storage by changing leftover sludge in the treatment process into a soil-like product. It has the same consistency as potting soil.
"You can do whatever you want to with it. There's no restrictions on it. The EPA says it's completely safe. You can use it on your garden, put it in your yard, whatever you want to do with it. We're currently selling it as compost-- a lot of people are getting it. Farmers are getting it," said Baron Swaffod, the public utilities director of the city of Maryville.
The project to improve the plant took four years to complete and $35 million. Before the project, the plant had a capacity of 10 million gallons a day. Now it's at 17 million.
The plant provides wastewater treatment for more than 21,000 customers.