'Grade-A treated human feces' spilled onto major Polk road, blocking traffic

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A driver was cited after his truck's load of feces spilled onto a heavily-traveled road in Polk County during rush hour.

Around 7:20 a.m., the driver, a 47-year-old man from Avon Park, was heading south on U.S. Highway 27 in a tractor-trailer hauling "Grade-A treated human feces," according to the Florida Highway Patrol.

Troopers said as the truck driver approached the intersection for State Road 544, another vehicle ahead of him "abruptly" stopped for a stopped school bus, causing the tractor-trailer to also hit his brakes. The sudden stop caused the pile of feces to shift, spill out over the front of the trailer, and onto the roadway.

The load covered all southbound lanes for a short time. Crews from the Haines City Fire Department cleaned up the scene.

The driver of the tractor-trailer was cited for violating "requirements for vehicles hauling loads."

Though FHP referred to the feces as "Grade-A treated," the terminology is actually Class A biosolids, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

When human feces go through treatment to be used for agricultural means, such as crop harvesting and animal grazing, the process creates material that is either designated as "Class A" or "Class B."

Class A biosolids must have pathogens that are below detectable limits, making them safe to use. However, Class B biosolids may still contain some pathogens, which makes them more restricted in their use than Class A.

Biosolids can be used to condition soils and provide nutrients for crops and vegetation, and can also be used for reclaiming and revegetating areas disturbed by mining, construction and waste disposal activities, the EPA said.