While we’re on the topic of massive turned aerated piles, here’s a related video to my last post of a facility in Phoenix, AZ.
This is a good overview of how an outdoor composting system works.
I hope they can make videos explaining water treatment, biofilters and trommel screening in greater detail.
I’ve always wondered where washing of the equipment, such as trucks and equipment, comes into play.
I never see it mentioned, although odors have led to the downfall of plenty of composting programs…
This is a nice happy video I found on Youtube detailing the process of “in vessel composting”. They show all the steps of the process all the way to the curing and screening.
I wish there was a little more nerd talk during the screening part, or maybe a section talking about the most common contaminants they receive.
Still a great video. Glad to know the facility exists and I hope more will come online soon!
Today I was wondering about how waste is collected in different parts of the country, especially during this wintry time of year. The featured article below just came out showing support for a composting program taking place in Alaska.
The composting process is conducted indoors (“in vessel”) due to cold outside temperatures that make it tricky to maintain an active compost pile. As a result, it allows for quite a great deal of waste to avoid the landfill year round.
This is some great news for the folks in Alaska. Although it’s a wild guess, maybe the colder temperatures tend to keep most people from starting their own composting efforts. If this is the case, it’s even more imperative to enhance in vessel composting programs.
Anchorage, Alaska — The large drum slowly spins around at Alaska Waste’s headquarters, taking in a grinded mixture of produce, woodchips and horse manure on one side and spitting out finished product on the other.
This is composting, Alaska style, which helps divert about 10 tons of material each week from the local landfill.
Colder temperatures make traditional composting a challenge, and that’s why Alaska Waste turned to an in-vessel approach approximately four years ago.
“The reason for that is because of size and also because of where we are,” said Mike Shrewsbury, who helps oversee the company’s composting and biodiesel operations. “The cold of Alaska, you can produce compost through windrows, but because of that cold you really have to be temperature conscious. If your compost becomes too cold, it will stop digestion and decomposition.”
Putting compost in the unit, which is 30 feet long and has a 10-foot diameter, helps maintain a constant temperature and environment that can be adjusted as needed.
The footprint of the composting machine also allows that work to be located in a building at the company’s Anchorage headquarters.
“This is much more compact than having a lot of windrows that take up a lot of land,” Shrewsbury said. “It’s really the size and the environment, why we went with the in-vessel composting.”
Raw materials are placed in the vessel five days a week and finished compost is removed five days a week. The material sits for 23 hours a day and then turned for an hour. After seven days, the finished product is removed via conveyor belt. The vessel is situated at a 1-degree angle, allowing material to work its way through the vessel during the week before it’s ready to come out of the finished end.
“It’s really key to maintain a constant level of compost in there to maintain the microorganism colonies that are required,” Shrewsbury said.
Alaska Waste, owned by Waste Connections Inc., has one customer that takes all of the compost, Green Earth Landworks LLC, which puts the material into composting socks for erosion control for landscape construction projects. These permeable socks allow water filtration to deliver nutrients from the compost to areas in danger of erosion, such as roadsides, Shrewsbury explained.
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?