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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Usda-Ars-Technical Bulletin-Conservation Resource

Authors
item MILLNER, PATRICIA
item Thompson, Wayne - US COMPOSTING COUNCIL
item Leege, Philip - SELF EMPLOYED
item Watson, Maurice - OHIO STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Complete Book
Publication Type: Government Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: December 29, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Compost is produced from a variety of feedstocks and thus provides for beneficial use of a variety of by-products, e.g., Food Processing Residuals compostable material remaining after fruit, vegetables, grains, nuts, and meat are processed for consumption. This is a laboratory manual organized in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) style to provide benchmark methods for compost analysis to enable comparison of analytical results. Each parameter is presented in its own section and generally includes more than one protocol or test method. Some compost parameters are regulated for the protection of public health, safety, and the environment, while others are product performance attributes that are important for managing specific uses of the product. Other test parameters and their methods are of academic interest for research use. Detailed instruction is presented for sample collection, preparation, analysis and reporting to address all phases of composting, including feedstock and composting process evaluation, and final compost product characterization. Sections are grouped into chapters that cover sampling and sample preparation (02); physical properties (03); inorganic chemical properties (04); organic and biological properties (05); organic contaminants (06); and pathogens (07). Each section includes a brief description of the parameter's function in the composting process, for safety of the product, or in product performance. These standardized methods for testing and evaluating compost quality will be used by compost producers, state regulatory and permitting agencies, compost product marketing specialists, state and commercial testing laboratories, and agriculturalists, horticulturalists, landscapers, and other consumer sectors.

Technical Abstract: This manual provides detailed protocols for the composting industry to verify the physical, chemical, and biological condition of composting feedstocks, material in process and compost products at the point of sale. Material testing is needed to verify product safety and market claims. It provides protocols to sample, monitor, and analyze materials at all stages of the composting process, i.e., prior to, during and after composting to help maintain process control, verify product attributes, assure worker safety, and to avoid degradation of the environment in and around the composting facility. It is organized in the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) style to provide benchmark methods for compost analysis to enable comparison of analytical results. Each parameter is presented in its own section and generally includes more than one protocol or test method. The manual contains more parameters than might be of concern or interest for a particular situation. Some compost parameters are regulated for the protection of public health, safety, and the environment, while others are product performance attributes that are important for managing specific uses of the product. Other test parameters and their methods are of academic interest for research use. Sections are grouped into chapters that cover sampling and sample preparation (02); physical properties (03); inorganic chemical properties (04); organic and biological properties (05); organic contaminants (06); and pathogens (07). Each section includes a brief description of the parameter's function in the composting process, for safety of the product, or in product performance.

Last Modified: 7/28/2014
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