June 19, 2009 | General

Regional Roundup

BioCycle June 2009, Vol. 50, No. 6, p. 14

San Diego, California

The City of San Diego Environmental Services Department (ESD) initiated a pilot project to evaluate the GORE Cover composting system versus its current windrow composting to process food waste with green waste. The pilot is located at the city’s Miramar Greenery composting and mulch facility, which is built on the closed portion of the Miramar Landfill. The GORE system started operating in April. Phase I was 28 days. Phases II and III are each 15 days for a total of roughly 60 days for the trial. Materials being composted under cover are 112 tons of food waste from various commercial sources, 150 tons (about 400 cubic yards) of green waste from landscapers and the city’s collection and about 15 tons (100 cy) of overs from the screened compost, used as a bulking agent.
“The City is running the trial to assess the operational effectiveness of covered aerated static pile technology with the Miramar Greenery feedstock and high levels of food waste (including biodegradable flatware) in anticipation of more stringent emissions regulations and expected increased levels of contamination as we compost more varied feedstocks,” says Renee Robertson, Recycling Specialist at ESD. “We are seeking to divert more organics from the landfill by branching out into more contaminated feedstock streams, including mixed commercial organics. In addition, the composting site and landfill are immediately adjacent to a military air base, so it is essential that more mixed organics do not equal more vectors, including birds. We also want to compare compost maturity results with the open windrow material, as well as gather operational data and costs for running a covered aerated system on a closed landfill.” Results of the trial will be reported later this summer.
Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The Coeur d’Alene wastewater treatment plant treats approximately 3.6 million gallons/day of wastewater. A recent news item in the Northwest Biosolids Management Association newsletter ( provided an update on the WWTP and its composting operation, which has been operating since 1990. The plant uses anaerobic digesters, rotating screen and gravity thickeners, and centrifuge dewatering, producing 21,000 wet pounds/day of Class B biosolids. The composting plant, added to produce Class A, Exceptional Quality biosolids, is three miles from the WWTP on an 18-acre site. The facility is surrounded on three sides by residential neighbors. The biosolids cake (22 percent solids) is delivered via dump truck, mixed with red fir bark chips and composted in aerated static piles. Annual compost production is about 4,000 cubic yards; material is sold to local area landscapers and tree nurseries. Several major additions and modifications have been made at the composting facility, including covered chip storage, outside pile bays and purchase of new mixing and screening equipment.

Avon, New York

RT Solutions, LLC designed and built a vermicomposting facility in Avon on a 1,600 head dairy farm that is adjacent to a 1,700 head operation. Manure solids are mixed with silage and composted in aerated bins for 14 days prior to being loaded into the flow-through vermicomposting system. At the recent vermicomposting workshop at North Carolina State University, Thomas Herlihy of RT gave presentations on commercial-scale vermicomposting and on marketing the end product to commercial growers and retail outlets. “We target our product, Worm Power, to high value growers who can justify the use of vermicompost products,” said Herlihy. “Those markets include vineyards, nurseries, greenhouses, and turf and vegetable growers.” He described a greenhouse operation using 10 to 15 percent Worm Power in its potting soil; the product also is used to top-dress the plug trays and is the primary ingredient in the nursery’s tea that is applied weekly. “That single customer has purchased 150,000 lbs of vermicompost,” he added. “We had to get organic certification from OMRI, as well as get product liability insurance and guarantee our specifications range.”
The company has been participating in organic potting mix studies with Cornell University for about four years. A current project is evaluating use of vermicompost to substitute for synthetic inputs in horticulture and nursery production. The project team includes researchers in plant pathology and horticulture and extension specialists in dairy economics and compost production.

Raleigh, North Carolina

Starting October 1, 2009, wooden pallets, plastic bottles and oil filters are targeted for diversion from landfills by North Carolina statutes. The state already has disposal bans for yard trimmings, whole tires, used oil, lead-acid batteries, white goods and aluminum cans. When the bill banning three new materials passed in 2005, the General Assembly acknowledged they constituted commodities, not waste. In doing so, says Scott Mouw of the state’s Department of Environment and Natural Resources, lawmakers recognized that the recovery of these materials contributes to the growth of the state’s economy.
For example, for PET (#1 plastic) bottles, a joint venture between DAK Inc. and Shaw Carpets will create 100 new jobs and recycle more than five billion PET bottles/year into polyester fiber for carpet manufacture. The facility, known as Clear Path Recycling, adds 280 million pounds of PET capacity to the 130 million pounds/year needed by a plant operated by NUURC and Coca Cola in Spartanburg, South Carolina. The combined capacity of these two plants alone is more than double all of the PET generated in North Carolina.

Albany, New York

Cafeteria waste, including food and biodegradable cups, plates, utensils and trays, generated by visitors, state employees and food service workers at Empire State Plaza are being diverted to CTI Agricycle LLC, a permitted composting facility in Buskirk, New York. The pilot project is being conducted jointly by the New York State Office of General Services (OGS) and Sodexo, the state’s contract food vendor. Kitchen food scraps and dining room waste – including uneaten food, paper napkins and other biodegradable items – are being separated for composting. Patrons in the public dining area are guided through self-sorting procedures. Waste Management Inc. is collecting the compostables under contract with Sodexo, and hauling the materials to CTI Agricycle. “The windrow facility primarily composts papermill sludge,” says Paul Mahoney of Covered Technologies, Inc. (CTI), which operates the site. “We received one 17 cy compactor of cafeteria food waste a few weeks ago, which we mixed with the paper mill sludge.”

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection recently announced six recipients of the 2009 annual Composting Infrastructure Development Grants. Nearly $400,000 was awarded to for profit and nonprofit organizations, including farms and colleges. The program reimburses recipients up to $100,000 for the purchase of machinery or equipment costs associated with increasing the use of organic materials processed at composting facilities in the state. DEP Secretary John Hanger notes in a press release that composting, instead of landfilling, will free up additional waste disposal space, save money by cutting down on municipal disposal fees, and generate additional business opportunities. Recipients are as follows:
Sandra Guzikowski Farm (Bucks County) received $78,000 to purchase a windrow turner, tractor, compost covers and cover winder. This equipment will enable the farm to accept 500 tons of food waste and 5,000 cubic yards of municipal yard trimmings. Finished compost will be used to grow vegetable crops for local markets.
Allegheny College (Crawford County) received $79,500 to purchase a shredder mill, screening plant, conveyor, skid-steer loader and leaf collection system. The equipment will improve the quality of the finished compost, and allow the campus to compost an additional 1,300 cubic yards (cy) of food waste and yard trimmings generated by the college and local community. (Delaware County) received $16,000 to purchase two solar-powered rotary composters. In a partnership with Swarthmore College, it will mix a minimum of 24 cy of campus food waste with yard trimmings. Fnished compost will be used for local gardens.
Terra-Gro, Inc. (Lancaster County) received $100,000 to purchase a Power Screen trommel. It will partner with Oregon Dairy Farm to double current on-farm composting capacity to 32,000 cy/year. Additional organic material will come from local grocery stores, restaurants, schools, local townships and other farming operations. The project is estimated to create 5 to 10 permanent jobs, with finished compost sold as a soil amendment for turf and gardening applications.
Sanofi Pasteur, Inc. (Monroe County) received $82,400 to purchase a composter, conveyor and vertical mixer to process 728 cy of food waste and yard trimmings from the company’s corporate campus. It is partnering with the Pocono Mountain School District and Monroe County Conservation District to accept an additional 312 cy of yard trimmings from the local community. Finished compost will be used on the Sanofi Pasteur’s 510-acre property.
Lafayette College (Northampton County) received $41,000 to purchase two food waste pulpers to dewater cafeteria food waste, and two Earth Tub systems and monitoring equipment to expand its composting operation, including accepting community yard trimmings. An additional 116 cy of food waste and yard trimmings will be composted annually, with finished product used on campus and by the local community.

Ellensburg, Washington

Kittitas County Solid Waste division is constructing a yard trimmings composting facility that should be self-sustaining on tip fees and compost sales. Besides yard trimmings, clean lumber and straw bedding will be composted. Last year, 2,000 tons of yard trimmings were dropped off for processing. “The facility is being designed to handle 6,000 tons of waste,” says Patti Johnson, Director of Kittitas County Solid Waste. The $1.5 million needed for the composting facility is being funded by a grant from the Department of Ecology and existing Solid Waste reserve funds. The facility should be up and running in a few months, with compost prices determined by operating costs.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Samborski Garden Supplies has been composting manure and yard trimmings since the 1950s, and began managing horse bedding and manure from several riding stables in Winnipeg in the early 1990s. In 2002, it began managing all of the horse bedding and manure produced at Assiniboia Downs, and then in 2004 it added waste from the Winnipeg Zoo. According to the company’s website, “In November 2007 we wanted to further expand our composting initiatives so we began accepting food waste at our facility. We began bringing in potato waste from Old Dutch Foods in Winnipeg.” They currently service about 50 restaurants and other businesses. The company is now set to expand its composting program into residential neighborhoods, collecting kitchen scraps and yard trimmings from interested homeowners in a few parts of Winnipeg.

Brattleboro, Vermont

Northeast Recycling Council (NERC), based in Brattleboro, was awarded a three-year grant from Northeast Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE), a USDA competitive grants program. The project, “Marketing On-Farm Compost for Sustainability & Economic Viability,” will work with on-farm compost operations in Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and New Hampshire. Twenty farms and state agencies have signed on as project team members to work with NERC to develop and implement the project. Through the project, NERC will provide free field day/workshops for farmers and agricultural specialists, a Compost Marketing Toolkit, and technical assistance with developing and implementing compost marketing plans.
NERC, along with its project team members, will provide tools to help farmers: explore compost as a value-added product to support their current business operation; understand the importance of quality control and compost recipe development; learn how to acquire the necessary permits to operate and market compost in their state; explore potential feedstocks and pricing structures; develop marketing and sales strategies to effectively meet local and regional demand; and develop and implement a compost marketing plan. For more information, contact Athena Lee Bradley, NERC Projects Manager:

Unity Plantation, Maine

The Hawk Ridge Composting Facility in Unity, owned and operated by New England Organics, has been certified and admitted to the National Biosolids Partnership’s (NBP) Environmental Management System (EMS) program. It is the first privately operated biosolids management company in the country to be certified by NBP. An EMS is a systematic set of processes and practices that enables an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency. There is a rigorous certification process by an independent third party auditor. The Hawk Ridge composting site processes biosolids from a number of communities. The facility opened in 1990. “The National Biosolids Partnership is pleased with the New England Organics-Hawk Ridge Compost Facility’s successful completion and verification of the EMS program,” says Richard Lanyon, NBP’s Chair. “The Partnership believes that instituting an EMS for utility management is vital to enhancing environmental excellence in local communities.” More details on the EMS program, and a list of other certified biosolids management programs, can be found at

Queens, New York

St. John’s University recently launched an on-site in-vessel food composter at its 105-acre Queens campus. The composter will process up to 80 gallons of food waste/week, along with wood chips for a bulking agent. Student volunteers retrieve kitchen-generated waste from the dining hall, which is operated by Chartwells, a division of the Compass Group that provides dining services for over 875 colleges, universities and public and private schools. “Here at St. John’s, and at Chartwells’ campuses across the country, we are already monitoring food waste in our kitchens through a program we call Trim Trax,” says Gina Capetanakis, Marketing Manager for Chartwells at St. John’s. “As part of the guidelines of Trim Trax, food waste is separated from other kitchen waste such as plastic wrap and disposable gloves, thus making it even easier for the student volunteers to retrieve the appropriate organic materials for the [composter].” The school chose a Rocket® A500 composter, which is manufactured by UK-based Accelerated Compost, and distributed in the U.S. by NATH Sustainable Solutions.

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