Tag Archives: coliform

How to Collect a Soil or Compost Sample


It really is that simple, right?

Dig just under the top layer in a few spots, dump into a bag.

While I’m not going with this particular lab, I was doing some comparative research on techniques although there’s not much to it.

I got my cooler packs, my quart-sized ziploc bags and a trowel.

I’m going to take a sample from the middle, but I’m more interested in the materials that are on the outer edges of the pile.

These particular areas are where it’s not as likely that the higher register of thermophilic activity was able to reach.

I’m still not worried, but I’d like to make my test as honest as I can get it.  The stuff from the center of the pile will be thoroughly cooked, so when that comes back looking fine I won’t be surprised.

Have you ever seen someone so excited about soil tests?

Wilmington Organics Recycling Center (video)

Wilmington Organics Recycling Center- Part 2

This is the best video showing how a commercial composting facility handles their stuff.

Keep in mind this is a $20 million facility complete with 2 ton Goretex tarps and capacity of 500+ tons a day.  Wow.  I know of a few customers of theirs that are quite happy with their stuff, and I’ve been a recipient of their finished product and we saw how that did…remember?

One thing that I always wonder about…how can they tell if their wood waste contains creosote or CCA, or was formerly used in phytoremedial projects?  Would the critters in the pile break down that nasty stuff?  Compost is a cheaper disposal route per ton than the landfill for most (within proximity to a facility, of course)… so wouldn’t that tempt more unnecessary waste going to this place without care if it’s compostable and/or non-toxic?  Gross thought.

I guess that’s sadly not much different than sending the same toxic stuff to a landfill, to leach out in due time into the water table (which does happen, and landfill liners are actually permitted to leak quite a bit).

I guess it always comes back to toxins in, toxins out, doesn’t it?