Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Cedar Groves Tour

Last weekend I toured Cedar Groves compost facility in Everett, WA as part of the MCSB (Master Composter/Soil Builder) class I'm taking through Seattle Tilth. It was truly interesting and a beautiful day, to boot. We toured the facility and learned about their process, as well as the triumphs and challenges of composting food and plant waste for a large urban area. The biggest challenge is dealing with all the non-compostables people put in their bins or truck in; things like plastic, broken tools, and items that may have been recyclable or are just garbage. Cedar Grove has come up with all kinds of ingenious ways to try to sift these items out with screening and magnets, etc., but it would be so helpful if people were conscientious about what they contribute; because at the scale of their operation, it's impossible to keep out everything that shouldn't be in there. Cedar Grove provides a very valuable service composting tons of material that can be re-used rather than going into the overloaded landfills. The facility meets very stringent requirements for their output both in their product as well as water runoff and so forth. This is the second largest urban composting project in the US; apparently the largest is in Delaware.

The industrial feel to the facility would have been fun to just run around and photograph, but there's heavy equipment and trucks all over, so I had to keep up with the tour. These are some of my photos from the morning:

There were eagles and hawks flying around attracted to critters that are naturally attracted to compost....

Fellow students on tour.....

Beautiful setting...

Magnets extract metallic objects before the material goes into the piles.

Material goes down conveyor belts that screen out foreign material and then are formed into long piles.

The piles are covered with Goretex covers that breathe and help the huge piles reach temperatures that kill pathogens. The crane moves the covers back and forth over the piles at the beginning and end of the process.

Life finds its way in....

As our tour coordinator said "these piles are done because the weeds are happily growing in this compost"  

No comments:

Post a Comment