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What is a composting facility package plant?

In the water/wastewater treatment and composting industries, a package plant typically refers to a small, prefabricated unit dropped on-site, ready to connect to the larger system.  A McGill composting facility package plant is different.

Since McGill doesn’t build small facilities, its “package” is actually a set of blueprints and specifications for an industrial composting plant pre-engineered to meet the specific environmental containment, throughput, and feedstock requirements of the owner.

Actual construction may include prefab and off-the-shelf components, but there is likely iron going up at the site and concrete to pour, too.

While the owner is still responsible for site-specific engineering,  all other aspects – structure, process, operating procedures, etc. — are provided with the package.  Initial crew training and start-up supervision is included, too.

Pre-engineered McGill facilities ensure efficient, economical operations because they are designed by folks who have been successfully building and running trouble-free, 100,000+ TPY commercial plants for nearly 30 years.      

A:  Biosolids are a by-product of biological wastewater treatment systems.

EO 13514, published in the Federal Register in October of 2009 and sometimes referred to as President Obama’s Environmental Executive Order, charges employees of the U.S. government to make “reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions a priority for federal agencies.”

In the 18 or so months since its issue, the directive has spawned new and expanded policies and programs throughout the federal hierarchy in the form of sustainability strategies and green purchasing directives.

The use of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for recycling drinking water and wastewater treatment residuals is not specifically addressed in the document, but composting treatment residuals can reduce GHGs, biological drying for sludge uses less energy than mechanical dryers, and composting water and wastewater treatment residuals makes the operations of a facility more sustainable — especially if compost products are used on site for landscaping, turfgrass management and stormwater control.  All are tenets of the Executive Order.

Beyond the EO, utilization of innovative wastewater technologies can earn Water Efficiency (WE) credit through the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED initiative.  But this specific credit is related to on-site treatment of wastewater, so may not be practical or economically viable except for large facilities.

However, common to many sustainability initiatives is flexibility and a willingness to explore new options and possibilities.  So, even if the words composting and wastewater treatment do not appear in the guidance document you use when developing sustainable strategies, consider contract services for composting of W/WTP residuals for an on-site treatment plant or determine if the volumes you send through a municipal wastewater system are composted.  If the answer is yes, can you claim any credits toward your waste reduction goals?

When it comes to putting principles into practice, seeking endorsement for an innovative idea can be well-worth a phone call or email to the program manager. For after all, what author of green doctrine is going to argue against composting as a Best Management Practice (BMP) for biodegradables?