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Pilot Composting Facility


There will be a tour on Thursday, July 31st at 4pm and Saturday, August 16th at 9am. Call 410-313-6444 for details.

The Bureau of Environmental Services has constructed a pilot project to produce quality compost. This state of the art pilot project is located on a ¾ acre site at the Alpha Ridge Landfill and is designed to compost yard trim and food scraps in aerated, covered piles. The compostable material is from residents that are participating in a food scrap collection pilot program. This is supplemented by material directly hauled by residents and contractors to Alpha Ridge. The facility started accepting material from the pilot curbside program in March 2013.

 Pilot Compost Ribbon Cutting    Pilot Compost Building a Windrow    Pilot Compost BioFilter 

We are working with State and County regulatory agencies and departments to ensure that the composting facility meets and exceeds environmental standards and expectations, and creates high quality compost. We have created a successful composting program that protects the environment and serves as a model for other local communities.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why is the County doing this project? 

    The goal of this project is to compost yard trim and food scraps locally, saving on processing and transportation costs. Benefits include keeping the material local, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and creating a beneficial soil amendment which reduces the need for chemical fertilizers, reduces erosion, and increases water retention in soils. Currently, this is the only facility of its kind in Maryland.

What types of materials are composted?  

    Materials include yard trim such as leaves, grass clippings and brush; food scraps such as fruits, vegetables and baked goods generated by County residents and collected by the County. For a complete list of accepted food scraps, please visit our Food Scrap webpage.

Is the product available for sale? 

Will this produce odors or attract pests? 

    No. The windrows are covered, aerated, regularly mixed and properly managed and monitored. An adjacent biofilter is used to treat collected moist air. At similar facilities, pests and odors are not a problem because the collected food scrap is ground, mixed with yard trim, and immediately covered.

How much material will be composted? How long will it take? 

    The facility is designed to make mature compost in 75 days. The pilot will be able to compost material collected from two of the County’s curbside collection areas totaling approximately 10,000 households. HoCoGro Compost is a soil amendment registered with the Maryland Department of Agriculture. It is regularly laboratory tested. For latest lab results, please click here.

What technology is being used? 

    The County is using a process manufactured and designed by Engineered Compost Systems. The AC Composter Aerated Static Pile system is a proven technology in wide use throughout the West Coast. A computer-controlled blower keeps the material saturated with oxygen, which accelerates decomposition and manages moisture levels. The cover system retains heat and high-nutrient materials while managing potential odors.

Where will the pilot be located?  

Is there a fact sheet? 

    Yes! Here is a handy fact sheet with information about the new pilot compost facility.

Will there be tours? 

    Please see above for upcoming tour dates or watch the electronic marquee at Alpha Ridge Landfill.

If you have additional questions, please contact Jeff Dannis at 410-313-6419 or jdannis@howardcountymd.gov