used to transport and prepare army garbage before it's ground into a pulp.
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Making Grass Out of Trash
July 9, 2004
Turning the U.S. Army's trash into a useful pulp is how the
Agricultural Research Service is helping
to revegetate the Army's training grounds at Fort Campbell, Ky.
At the base, the Army is using a conveyor system to separate
useful garbage from waste. The useful material is then heated and sterilized.
After it is dried, a pulp, which looks like home insulation material,
That's when ARS takes over. Soil scientists H. Allen Torbert of
the National Soil
Dynamics Laboratory, Auburn, Ala., along with Ken Potter of the
Center, Temple, Texas, have planted native grasses on bare training areas.
They are studying the soil chemical properties after the pulp--which contains
nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium--is added. It has a neutral pH.
Native grasses were successfully established, and a significant
increase in plant biomass occurred between the first and second year of the
project. The researchers were able to make the soil fertile again. The addition
of native grasses not only has made bare areas look nicer, but has cut down on
soil erosion. This research should be applicable to degraded agricultural soils
and may be used in the future to grow grass in parks, golf courses and
The ARS soil scientists also conducted work at Fort Benning,
Ga., where the soil condition was even worse and needed a higher concentration
of the pulp. The results, however, were the same. Degraded training areas
became fertile grasslands.
The Army considers the research a success and is interested in
expanding the technology to other bases--and even possibly to the other
information on the research is available in the July issue of Agricultural Research
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.