Piles of organic waste that allow the solids from primary treatment to dry out, heat up and decompose by aerobic means.
Treatment Level: Secondary
Relative Cost: low
Amount of Maintenance Interaction: medium – high
Beneficial Byproduct: some – lots (compost)
- Very little maintenance needed if only used as waste solids treatment.
- Creates high nutrient compost for re-use or sale.
- Can also treat kitchen and garden waste.
- Can be done on a small or large scale, depending on the supply of material to be composted
- Can take up a lot of space, depending on primary treatment method and other inputs.
- Must keep piles aerated by either layering with hay, straw, etc or by manual or mechanical turning.
- Care needed to avoid potential exposure to pathogens during O&M.
Operation & Maintenance
- Add sludge, kitchen compost, and/or animal waste as often as needed for disposal.
- Either layer each new input with straw, hay, or dry leaves, or turn pile monthly to add oxygen.
- Allow compost to age a minimum of 12 months before using for health safety.
- Can be done in long rows or smaller piles, depending on amount of waste to be composted.
- Try to minimize opportunities for rainwater runoff from compost piles.
- Consider using in combination with vermiculture (worm composting).