Composting may solve small-town waste problems
GARBAGE: Local system could provide disposal model for smaller communities.
By STEVE WILLIAMS
Chilkat Valley News
(Published: May 9, 2003)
-- A new garbage composting system here is being watched closely by small towns
around the nation as a possible solution to solid waste disposal.
Sanitation's in-vessel composting system could reduce by two-thirds the volume
of garbage and sewage sludge buried at the landfill, company president Lynda
Walker said. Eventually it will also produce salable compost.
and partner Tom Hall say the new facility amounts to a large-scale, mechanized
version of a backyard compost pile.
includes two 40-foot-long, 15-foot-diameter rotating drums. One prepares a
mixture of garbage, sludge from the city sewage treatment plant and water. The
second separates material after it "cooks" in four shipping
container-sized composting vessels.
happens when the mixture cooks for three days at 165 degrees, reducing the
overall volume and destroying biological pathogens. Air and liquid byproducts
are filtered and cycled back into the vessels.
compost is screened and separated from inorganic material in the second drum. The
uncomposted material will be taken to the landfill and covered with the
composting system should be able to handle twice the company's average current
volume of three tons of trash per day. "We built it for the future, not
the short term," Walker said.
doesn't envision raising rates for residential customers, she said, and doesn't
plan for eventual municipal takeover of the system. "We certainly didn't
build it with that in mind."
company's aim is to reduce landfill use and eliminate its recent reliance on
shipping garbage Outside for disposal.
were separating out and landfilling what we could, but we were spending more
and more on shipping. It's money that should be staying here and paying for
system cost about $300,000. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Juneau
Economic Development Council's Southeast Alaska revolving loan fund provided
composting expert Jim McNelly helped design the system. McNelly, whose company,
NatureTech, pioneered in-vessel composting in larger towns, said Haines
Sanitation's success would be groundbreaking.
intent here is to make the case that this kind of program is the best way to
manage municipal solid waste in small communities. There are a lot of people
watching this project," he said. "If we show that this can be done in
Haines, it can be done in rural communities all over the world."
state is also watching Haines Sanitation's efforts.
Department of Environmental Conservation solid waste regulator Ed Emswiler said
in-vessel composting could be used for sewage sludge and garbage disposal in
the Bush, where other options are limited.
by The Associated Press.