Managing Wastes: Composting and Land Application PWT
Meeting Summary
Dec 6, 2004 10AM-3PM

Casa Di Copani Restaurant, Syracuse


Items in bold italics are “to do.”


Attending: Aldrich (Cornell Manure Mgmt Program), Baker (NYS DOT), Bonhotal (CWMI), Brown (Cornell Industrial and Labor Relations, Extension), Cooper (Onondaga County RRA), Duwe (Concord Engineering and Esolco America), Feinland (NYS DEC), Glath (NYS DOT), Gulliver (Country Butcher), Harrison (CWMI), Hay (Cornell Dept. of Microbiology), Hornor (Cornell Dept. of Crop and Soil Sci), Horvath (NRCS), Kreher (Kreher Poultry), LeBlanc (We Care Organics), Lohse (NYS DOT), Marion (NYS Dept. of Corrections), Mathers (Cornell U Cooperative Extension – Broome Co.), Matthews (Matlink Farms), Michaelides (Cornell U Cooperative Extension – Tompkins Co), Neuman (Onondaga County SWCD), Petrovic (Cornell Dept. of Horticulture), Rowland (NYS DEC), Scamman (Barton and Legudis), Severson (Cornell U Cooperative Extension – Chenango Co.), Torelli (NYS Assn for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling; W. Finger Lakes solid waste), Wadsworth (Wegman’s egg farm), Wadsworth (Wegman’s egg farm)


Introductions and Updates

Topics you would like to discuss -particular questions, interests

LaBlanc: Market materials as well as processing some materials. See a move from making compost to manufacturing soils.

Matthews: Interest in revised 360 rules.

Gulliver: Interest in a commercial composting site for slaughter house wastes.

Wadsworth: compost marketing and chicken

Hank Duwe Concord Engineering and a new company Esolco America based in Niagara focus on organic residuals mgmt.

Torelli: hoping to reenergize NYSAR Organics council

Hornor: microbial ecology of compost

Brown: recently completed MSDS for sludge pellets spontaneous combustion a concern.

Petrovic: Compost and turf – there are 3.5 M acres of turf in NYS

Aldrich: Guidelines for compost applied to ag land

Baker: Composting roadkill

Lohse: Erosion control, manufactured soils

Glath: Erosion control

Michaelides: Festival composting, schools, diversion from commercial sector


Compost Use

NRCS would like to adopt compost use specs.

Oregon uses compost in erosion control. Compost berms are in use and required by rules.

Application issues – blowers. Cost is a factor and it is related to how frequently they are used (price per use comes down when they are used more).

Need to reach out to contractors – the site work guys. AGC- Assn of General Contractors. They often don’t know how to use compost. Issues of application practices they are often ignorant of this. Specs may specify compost, but say nothing about application. Often what the specs say for quantity gets shorted.

Joint DOT/AGC conference annually in December in Saratoga. We should consider presenting there.  Glath – consider getting a compost session at this meeting.

NYS DEC Blue Book specifies accepted sediment and erosion control practices.  Recently updated.  CWMI sent info re use of compost. Compost blankets (1-4 inch top-dress on slopes) got added. Compost berms did not. NRCS suggested changes to soil loss calculations that were not accepted.


Glath is doing some training for DOT designers and construction folks on what’s new in use of compost for erosion control.

NHI – national highway institute also doing some training. Graves at NYS DOT is involved.

Compost Quality

Need quality control and testing. Need a clearing house or list of compost manufacturers.  There is not enough high quality compost in NYS. There is a lot of poor quality immature mulch type material. Need to make differently for different markets.

People are rushing the composting process.

There can be a problem if you get tip fee oriented. Can mean that materials are brought in regardless of odors.

Transportation is a big issue.

Maturity is a big issue regarding compost quality.

Compost regulation as a fertilizer

NYS Dept of Ag and Markets has developed a draft of rules that would address the problems with the current rules whereby compost reporting any nutrients comes under the fertilizer rules which don’t fit composts.  These should be available for public review shortly. The draft allows composters to test and report a number of parameters including maturity. Methods were not specified in the draft, but CWMI suggested that they specify TMECC methods.

Home/school composting

School composting

There are more or less sensitive people, place, times.

Think about siting. Don’t do outdoor composting where the ventilation system is.

Inside the building – many have serious ventilation problems.  If possible use –use drafty sites; part of the building not in high use like hallway, loading dock.  If you are already not meeting stds for ventilation, then don’t site it in class room. Work with school nurses to identify sensitive people. Stress handwashing or gloves.  There are really no guides that address safety issues. 

Brown will do a draft for a group to review.

OCCRA would like to know how to get schools interested and how to sustain it.

Consider AmericorpsHornor served and did waste reduction in a school.

Partner with CU Cooperative Extension.

Commercial/Institutional diversion

Seems to come down to tip fee – what costs least.

Transportation is critical Q.

Separation and cleanliness of feedstocks is an issue.

D. of Corrections has done some with schools and colleges. Can’t do private sector.  Issue of contaminants -styrofoam, condiment packets. It can be done successfully.

Maybe deal with preconsumer – less training is needed.

Need to know the waste stream. There is a large % of organics in NYC waste stream.  

Concern that some farms taking materials for tip fees and not really composting them but using farm as dumping grounds.

Co-Composter, free computer model from CWMI available on the WWW, can be useful in considering requirements for composting varied materials.

Suggested Revisions to the Part 360 Rules Pertaining to Compost and Sludge

Presentation – Sally Rowland explained that all of the state solid waste rules are under revision.

Decreased regulation of yard wastes.

Food scrap – have used 1000 yd/s for off site as cut off.  Is that a good #?

Papermill and sewage sludges need a permit.

Butchers – on-site is exempt. Will probably require registration even if on site.

Relation to CAFO – will try not to overlap/duplicate. NYS DEC will defer to CAFO regarding land application of residuals, digesters taking food scraps, etc.

Discussion of desired changes.

A farm wanted to spread materials coming from a digester that handled manure and food wastes. Because it included food, there were restrictions on soil type on which it could be spread.

Rowland: Land application of manure is exempt. Food processing waste must be registered and obey provisions mainly dealing with preventing ground and surface water issues. There was some inconsistency with CAFO rules.  Solid waste rules did not recognize digested solids from mix of manure and food wastes as a product. It was treated the same as raw food processing waste.

There is intensive testing of digested materials that shows pathogen reduction.

DEC is moving to harmonize CAFO and solid waste rules with CAFO governing. However this might also apply to smaller non-CAFO farms.

Group suggests: What about relating regulations and requirements to approved Nutrient Mgmt Plan. If you have Certified NMP, whether or not you are a CAFO, then let that take precedence.


Carcasses under 360 rules, farms can bury anything. DEC is looking to narrow that for carcasses and stipulate no mass burial and to require registration. DEC is trying to get farms to compost mortalities, not bury them. 

Bonhotal will arrange a meeting with State Vets because of fear that if registration is required that farms will ignore or subvert.

Other issues:

What about banning things like yard wastes from landfills? Typically these must be done as legislation not regulations.

DEC will try to make the rules clear to promote consistency among the 9 DEC regions.

Sludge and sludge products – regs require a marketing plan that includes info on things like N and pH from user perspective.  Label will be required for all including Class A and products for home use.  Tracking of where and how much Class A product use is not anticipated. Some permits require tracking if delivering more than some baseline amount to one farm. DEC is looking to see when something is a product and no longer a solid waste so it no longer is regulated.

BUD – beneficial use determination

Compost use as soil amendment is “prebudded”.  For other materials, testing is very dependent on the materials and the use. Not necessarily pollutant concerns but is it a legitimate use? Is it truly a benefit?

Labeling for compost – how about a form so there is consistency.  Consider consistency with DAM. 

Test methods: TMECC (US Compost Council recommendations regarding test methods) is not being considered as requirement under the revised 360 rules.  Regs require use of DOH certified labs. DOH is willing to try and take on new certification requirements. Perhaps something in the regs addressing compost testing would be a good idea.

Testing composts and sludges for organics chemicals. Currently sludges for land application must test for a required list of semi volatile and volatiles that is on the WWW and is based on EPA approved test methods. DEC is toying with idea of diminishing requirements for small WWTP that haven’t detected these chemicals.  DEC has done some bioassays or yard wastes and biosolids for dioxins. So far the bioassay has not come up with same values as chemical analyses. Ly Lim at DEC did this for PhD. Consider conversation of Hay with DEC.

Envir leadership programs, like EMS – is something DEC is pushing.

Could there be something in regs to encourage this – maybe less reporting?.

Compost Tea

Compost tea presentation by Alison Horner.

Research on human pathogens in compost tea. Adding nutrients to aerated tea reactors did increase bacteria – but in particular E. coli even using OMRI organic certified compost.  Aerated compost tea is no better in disease suppression and adding molasses increases pathogens.

Updates on:

Compost used as dairy cow bedding- CWMI and Cobleskill new project with NYSERDA funding.

Composting roadkills, farm mortalities, mass mortalities

      Marion DEC Reg 3 did some testing

      New CWMI project with NYS DOT to establish and test piles of road kill deer and to outreach to DOT and local highway staff

Updating On-Farm Composting Handbook is in the works – NRAES is managing it

Small scale (backyard) composting – lots of new info on CWMI WWW site.

Compost Fact sheets – a series of large-scale compost fact sheets from CWMI now on the WWW

Compost Roundtables – something CWMI is interested in sponsoring.

LeBlanc – would be a good thing. Manufactured Soils rather than strictly compost

Include 360 rules on the agenda

NYS Poultry assn –might have some funding

Guidelines for compost use in turf management being developed by CWMI and Horticulture dept. – would they apply to home use?

PWT functioning

      Breakout groups. Maybe working groups on topics like diversion, commercial, school/home.  Maybe do topic discussions in breakouts over lunch.