PEEC Earth Day Series: Composting Returns to Los Alamos County

Composting Returns to Los Alamos County
By TOM NAGAWIECKI
Environmental Services Specialist for Los Alamos County

The new Los Alamos County composting facility at the old wastewater treatment plant in Bayo Canyon is set to be complete in fall 2013. 

The County composting program was discontinued in 2011 due to closure of the County landfill and odor issues. 

The County has been working over the past few years to find the best location and process to resume the composting program.

The new facility will enable the County to create higher quality compost in a cost-effective manner and reduce the negative community impact generated as a result of odor issues.      

The same three materials – horse manure, green waste, and wastewater treatment plant sludge – will be composted using the same windrow composting methodology as the old system at the Los Alamos County Eco Station. 

The County will purchase two new pieces of equipment, a windrow turner and compost screen, to enhance the composting process. The windrow turner will enhance the mixing of materials during the composting process and a compost screen will be utilized to screen the finished to produce a finer finished product.  

The new equipment should help alleviate the odor issues encountered in the past and the relatively secluded location of the new composting facility will alleviate the impact, should odor problems arise. 

Do not worry; you will not have to travel farther to get your hands on the finished compost, as it will be available at the Eco Station for pickup. As in the past, residents will come to the Eco Station to pick up finished compost. 

Site preparation is currently underway in Bayo Canyon. Soil being removed as part of the Los Alamos County Reservoir restoration project is being used to prepare the site for composting operations. 

The County is excited to resume composting operations as it is one initiative that greatly increases the sustainability of our community. Composting promotes waste reduction through the recycling of organic materials and leads to reduced landfill and transport emissions. 

It also provides a valuable soil amendment that enhances the ability of residents to join the Earth Day theme of “Dig Nature.”

If you have any questions or comments on this new composting program, contact Tom Nagawiecki at 505-662-8383. Or better yet, stop by the Earth Day Festival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 27 and talk with Tom at the Los Alamos County Environmental Services booth.

Editor’s note: This is part of a series of stories from the Pajarito Environmental Education Center (PEEC) leading up to its annual Earth Day Festival set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at PEEC, 3540 Orange St., in Los Alamos.

This year’s Earth Day Festival will feature displays by community groups of their earth-friendly products and practices and their information about our environment on the Pajarito Plateau.

  • Over 20 booths
  • Food vendors
  • Live entertainment by Clan Tynker and the Hill Stompers
  • Kids activities, including “Walk Like a Wolf”, the “Mudpie Kitchen” and making miniature adobes with the Cornerstones Community Partnership.

For more information, e-mail EarthDay@PajaritoEEC.org.

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