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by Malcolm Beck


1. find an out of sight location, people smell with their eyes

2. down wind of neighbors or potential neighbors.

3. near supply or at least between supply and demand such as near landfill, feed lot, stock yards, etc.

4. remove 4 to 8 inches of top soil before pad is built, top soil is valuable, it will sell for more than it cost of removing it, with top soil removed the pad is a lot more stable.

5. pad must be impervious and hard surface to accommodate truck and tractor traffic under continuous wet conditions.

6. design pad so all runoff drains into retention pond and no outside water can run on to pad.

7. slope pad for continuous drainage but not fast drainage, 2 percent ok, if too fast, drainage carries compost material into pond

8. size pond for 25 year and 24 hr. rainfall, or larger if possible

9. TNRCC rules; not in flood plain; not in wetland; 100 ft. or more from creeks, streams, lakes or any state surface water 500 ft. from public well; 150 from private well; protect all ground water; these rules designed to keep you in business.

10. a very important rule is the 50 ft. set back from boundaries.
Boundary isles should kept open for truck and loader traffic and should completely circle compost operation.

11. on down wind-side, the boundary should be more than 50 ft. if possible.

12. water should be piped around outer edge of boundary from a reliable source. for fire protection and dust control.

13. if possible keep all brush, chip and sawdust piles moist--best fire protection

14. however, a stock pile of dry wood shavings, wood chips or other small, absorbent carbon should be kept on hand for odor control but keep it near water hydrant with a hose attached.

15. encircle the compost site with evergreen trees and shrubs. the trees dampen noise, trap dust and blowing trash and stop smell. You can't fence an odor in, but you can fence eyes out, People smell with their eyes and on suggestion.

16. if compost site is behind woods build a curved road into it.

17. if electric motors are to be used, high voltage, 3 phase electricity is best and needed for 10 hp and up. Use electric motor on retention pond pump when used for fire protection.

18. design operations so trucks and personal vehicles are not caused to drive behind backing loaders. Design for safety and efficiency.

19. place raw materials on low end of pad, next to retention pond and finished products up hill. You don't want raw leachates running into ready to sell products.

20. do what it takes to become good friends with existing and new neighbors.

21. a loud-noisy grinder or other equipment can't be heard when operated behind a tall chip, soil, mulch or compost pile.

22. if regulatory agencies are called out give them the forty dollar tour, ask them questions of how they can help you, Answer all of their questions and show them all and more than they want to see; they can be a big help to you or they can really hurt you if you jerk them around.

23. always keep the site looking good; mow grass and weeds; keep piles pushed up neat; keep blowing trash picked up; keep materials and supplies stacked in strait, orderly fashion; a nice looking place never smells; a disorderly place always smells.



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last updated:  February 9, 2004