McGill technology applications
Composting is a recycling technology. There’s not a more affordable, more sustainable method of recovering organic matter and returning it to the soil than through the manufacture and use of compost.
But McGill technology applications go beyond recycling and soil amendments to include a range of bio-based, waste management solutions including:
- Biological drying for high-moisture materials like sludge
- Volume and/or weight reduction for waste streams that are inappropriate for composting feedstocks and must be disposed via landfilling or incineration
- Bioremediation of contaminated soil
The secret to this high level of flexibility is the control and management of the natural biodegradation process. The higher the level of control, the easier it is to manage the same basic process to meet different goals.
Facility design, process design, and a process management strategy that includes automated monitoring and aeration control provide this elasticity for McGill.
Here are some of the things that this technology can do:
Every permitted composting operation must manage its process to meet regulatory standards for pathogen kill and other factors. But whether the resulting compost will be of low or high quality depends largely upon management. For processors who are not interested in maximizing the volume of compost produced for resale, the process can be managed to reduce end product volumes, as well.
Though weather exposure and lack of technical sophistication may pose a number of management challenges, even a crude, outdoor windrow facility can produce high-quality products. Conversely, a sophisticated indoor plant using state-of-the-art technology can produce a low-grade product.
It’s all about understanding the underlying science. Then — in keeping with the limitations of the physical plant (or lack thereof) and composting methodology in use — managing the natural biodegradation process to meet specific processing goals.
A composting facility marketing primarily to farmers may not need to manufacture a product suitable for golf courses or suburban lawns. But plunk that operation down in suburbia, where farms are many miles distant and the nearest (and most lucrative) markets are right next door, and goals change. Such a facility needs to produce a premium product that can be used anywhere by anyone any time of the year.
Same technology + different process management = different products for different markets. McGill customizes the design and management protocols for each plant so the finished compost products will meet the quality standards of the intended end use market.
Sludge drying, moisture reduction
Compared to sludge dryers, composting is an economical technology for drying biosolids, sludge and other high-moisture materials. Microbial activity is a “free” heat source. The feeding activity of the microbes responsible for biodegradation generates heat. Moisture is released in the form of steam. No expensive thermal units or centrifuges are required.
Sludge can be dried with or without compost production as a processing goal. Sludge can be biologically dried and then transported off-site for further processing. For materials intended for disposal, bio-drying reduces weight and volume of the waste stream prior to transport and burial/destruction. (SEE: weight/volume reduction)
Biological drying can be incorporated as a component of a new treatment plant or add-on to an existing treatment operation.
This biological technology application drives moisture out. As a result, the processed material — whether a sludge destined for incineration or a high-quality compost — is significantly less is both weight and volume than the original waste stream.
For waste generators transporting to contract facilities for further processing or disposal, this difference can represent a dollar savings in transportation costs and tipping fees.
How much savings? A rough estimate of 50% reduction in both volume and weight will work for preliminary estimates. But, to determine the actual number, ask an engineer to do calculations for the specific feedstocks to be processed. If transporting to a McGill facility, we can make those estimates for you. Tell us about your project.
Another application of the composting process is bioremediation, the use of microorganisms (naturally occurring or introduced) to break down pollutants in soil and water. In the field, this bio-technology is applied to clean-up of sites contaminated with a variety of hydrocarbons, explosives and more.
For many types of contaminants, and depending on the scope of work, McGill can establish a temporary facility for soil and water clean-up at the contamination site or treat in-situ without requiring any material to be transported off-site.
As this technology application utilizes compost, the treated soil is suitable for use as final vegetative cover without an additional application of topsoil.