June 15, 2005 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle June 2005, Vol. 46, No. 6, p. 14

Boardman, Oregon
According to the electronic bulletin, Harvesting Clean Energy published by Climate Solutions (visit www., the estimated 20,000 dairy cows at Threemile Canyon Farms produce over 1,000 cu yds of manure daily, which are composted. A permit issued by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality to Threemile Canyon in 2003 authorized composting of the following feedstocks: Dewatered manure solids; soiled and clean straw; wood waste; crop residues; yard debris; farm mortalities; and food residuals from the Portland Metro area. (See BioCycle, Sept., 2003)
Latest plans include a new clarifier designed to separate water from the manure slurry that will be used as an initial step toward operation of a 6 MW methane digester. Power generated at Threemile Canyon Farms will be utilized during peak demand periods. Surplus will be metered into the grid during off-hours.
Royal City, Washington
The Washington Technology Center (WTC) has provided grants to promote innovative technology development in agriculture. One grant recipient is B&G Farms – reports the Puget Sound Business Journal – which grows 30,000 acres of mint, the marketable oil that uses up only one percent of the mint harvested. The steam distillation process that extracts the oil – sold to firms like Wrigley for its chewing gum and Colgate-Palmolive for its toothpaste – leaves tons of shredded, cooked vegetable pulp known as “mint mulch.” B&G project manager Tyler Schilperoort calls it “completely beautiful material to compost.”
However, it may be beautiful, but it’s sterile because it has been cooked at 220 to 240° so introducing “microbial colonies” would seem to be logical (but costly). The other problem is volume since the mint mulch occupies 120 to 160 acres of B&G land. The mint mulch is spread out in rows and aerated using turners. With the price of diesel fuel hitting record levels, hauling and turning “will kill the mint market if we don’t see some increase in prices,” Schilperoort told the Business Journal.
B&G gets $10 to $12 per pound for mint oil, a decline from prices in the 70s and 80s when prices ranged from $15 to $25 even though costs of farm implements and fuel are four to six times higher. The WTC grant will fund research with Central Washington University to improve the B&G mint composting operations. “Our goal is to try to get enough money from selling the compost to be able to grow mint for a living,” sums up Schilperoort.
Grand Haven, Michigan
Approximately five million pounds of fish residuals from Michigan industries are generated annually from processing lake whitefish, trout and salmon. Supported in part by grants through the Clean Michigan Initiative and the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, a project was begun to determine the viability of composting fish waste – developing a market strategy, producing compost that meets market specifications, as well as documenting levels of mercury and halogenated hydrocarbons to allay concerns about using composted fish residuals.
According to a new report authored by Ronald Kinnunen, District Sea Grant Agent with Michigan State University (MSU) , Charles Gould, Nutrient Management Agent with MSU, and Peter Cambier of Northern Initiatives, titled Composting Commercial Fish Processing Waste from Fish Caught in the Michigan Waters of the Great Lakes, much attention was given to analyzing fish species, feedstocks used to provide carbon, and greenhouse crops grown in the finished compost for contaminants. Two composting methods were used – the rotating drum in-vessel method developed by BW Organics of Texas and the static pile method. Piles were in place for approximately 12 months.
The report’s abstract noted that whitefish caught in Lakes Huron and Michigan were below the FDA “action levels” for chlordane and dieldrin; All whitefish were below FDA action levels for toxaphene; So were all lake trout; All salmon were below levels for chlordane, dieldtrin, et al.; and no DDT was detected in compost made from whitefish/lake trout waste. A full article on the study will appear in a coming BioCycle. For further details, e-mail Charles Gould, MSU Extension, at:
Ocean County, New Jersey
Following approval for modifying its compost permit at the Northern Recycling Center site in Lakewood Township, the Ocean County Utilities Authority (OCUA) continues production of Oceangro. This organic fertilizer – made from anaerobically digested sewage sludge – is being used to accelerate breakdown of leaves at the site. “With the use of Oceangro in our windrows of leaves,” explains Art Burns, superintendent of Recycling Operations, “the leaves break down into compost in half the time. Full composting is complete in two months compared to the six months it would take without Oceangro.” The compost has produced great results on the County’s athletic fields, golf courses and lawns. The compost is also sold at area garden centers in 50-pound bags.
Madison County, New York
A $2 million landfill gas recovery project “is in the final stages, getting ready to go out to bid shortly,” says James Zecca, director of the Madison County Department of Solid Waste. Besides converting biogas into electricity for sale to local manufacturers, the county also plans to use excess heat at its nearby recycling center. The solid waste program processed between 50,000 to 60,000 tpy.
Boston, Massachusetts
Massachusetts Senate Bill 533 would set up programs to manage scrap tires, require tire haulers, processors and disposal sites to be registered as well as require a $1.00 per tire recycling fee (passenger) and $2.00/tire fee (commercial truck), reports Scrap Tire News.
Revenues from the fees would be placed in a Waste Tire Abatement Fund for state-authorized tire pile cleanups; scrap tire research and development projects; ants and low interest loans for scrap tire recycling; educational and training materials; and information materials promoting the use of products with recycled rubber content. The fund would also provide assistance to regional and local government agencies in the state to purchase materials with recycled scrap tire content generated in the state.
The bill establishes procedures for identifying and remediating nuisance tire collection sites. It also establishes fines and penalties for violations of the Waste Tire Abatement Act. SB533 calls for the Department of Transportation and Highway Department to conduct a study on the use of recycled materials in road construction and highway products such as guard rail posts, sign supports and traffic delineators.
The second bill, HB1375, also calls for a state Scrap Tire Management Program that addresses abatement of scrap tire stockpiles and management of the annual generation of scrap tires in the state. It would require the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to inventory and priority rank illegal stockpiles in the state.
Revenue from the fees would fund a Scrap Tire Management Fund which would be used for scrap tire pile abatement, low interest loans and grants to support most scrap tire projects, excluding those that involve combustion of scrap tires for energy recovery.
Jasper, Alberta, Canada
In mid-April, 100 households in the mountain community of Jasper began collecting compostable kitchen organics after the Municipal Council endorsed the eight-week project. Participating households will collect and measure feedstocks. Primary goal of the pilot is to evaluate feasibility of an organics collection program and measure attitudes and acceptance of residents to composting. Each participant will be provided with compostable bags and collection containers (a small one for under the sink and a larger green bin for week-long storage). They will also be responsible for weighing their organics before depositing them at one of several residentially located bear-proof containers. The data will help determine need for increased collection points in the town, assess practicality of the Biosak compostable bags and containers, as well as estimate total organics available.
Eugene, Oregon
Formed in December, 2002, two organizations – the Compost Tea Industry Association (CTIA) and the Compost Tea Education & Research Foundation (CTERF) – address “the mounting need for a unified voice … and advance the industry in a manner that will ensure its long-term viability,” e-mails Cindy Salter, Executive Director, CTIA. CTIA members include manufacturers of compost tea systems, producers of compost and vermicompost, laboratories, etc. CTERF is a nonprofit, funded through grants and donations. To learn more about the organizations, advises Salter, “please view our website at www.compost tea. org or call (541) 345-2855.”
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
For cofounders Patrick FitzGerald and Ron Gonen, their RecycleBank idea that rewards city residents for recycling is working well. Philadelphia Department of Streets staff are keeping track of how much the 1,200 participating households are diverting – and it’s amounting to close to 30 pounds of recyclables per household per week. Test areas have increased rates from 15 to 50 percent, as early projections are exceeded. The RecycleBank concept works this way: The city deposits credits in a bank account based on household performance. Then residents redeem the credits for coupons at participating firms that include Starbucks Coffee and Home Depot, etc. Other cities and states are reported to be interested in setting up similar systems.
Olympia, Washington
Three Washington firms have joined Sustainable Systems based in Missoula, Montana as pioneer biodiesel producers in the Northwest, reports the May 2005 electronic newsletter, Harvesting Clean Energy. The companies are Sound Biodiesel of Port Townsend; Whole Energy of Bellingham; and Seattle Biodiesel – all providing ASTM-certified fuel to a variety of public and private fleets, as well as retail customers. Continues the newsletter:
Long-time retailer Sound Biodiesel began producing its own fuel this past winter using waste vegetable oil gathered from around the north Olympic Peninsula community. Whole Energy, which is also using waste vegetable oil as its primary feedstock, is now providing the biodiesel used in a B20 blend by all 60 trucks in Sanitary Service Company’s fleet, Whatcom County’s largest full-service recycling and waste collection company. Meanwhile, Seattle Biodiesel is in the process of ramping up production to 200,000 gallons/month by July.
After pulling out of a brief alliance with Chinese industrial conglomerate YaSheng Group, Sustainable Systems has refocused its efforts on possible regional and national expansion. Sustainable Systems is considering the purchase of Montola Growers, an oilseed processing plant in Culbertson. It’s now anticipated the sale will close in August. The company is looking to process safflower, canola and flaxseed and is actively contracting for safflower acres in northeastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota.
Sustainable Systems currently supplies federal, state and local governments as well as transit authorities in the region with two branded fuels – PacBio for fuel made from Washington, Idaho, and Oregon grown oilseed crops, and Montana Biodiesel for fuel derived from Montana crops.

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