With the compost manufacturing industry growing, many recognize the importance of properly testing the compost being sold to ensure that it meets various criteria for safety and performance. For many years, employees at compost operations have used the techniques detailed in the Test Methods for the Examination of Composting and Compost (TMECC) to get accurate sampling results, but following the techniques in the TMECC are highly technical and do not easily translate to employees of all skill levels.
To help deal with the issue of consistently getting good samples for testing, the Composting Council Research & Education Foundation (CCREF), with the help of generous sponsors and funders, has created two videos demonstrating the steps that should be taken in order to send compost samples to a lab for analysis. The accuracy of the laboratory analysis depends almost entirely on the quality of the sample submitted and, particularly, how representative the sample is of a typical batch (up to 5000 cubic yards). Knowledge on how to properly take samples and handle the preparation of the sample is crucial to getting reliable analysis, which is the basis for whether and how the compost will be used.
The goal of the videos is to be a visual guide that can be used as a continual reference for current and future employees tasked with getting compost samples ready to be sent to a testing lab. In the videos, specific topics are covered such as: field sampling of compost materials, maintenance and sanitation of sampling equipment, completion of chain of custody forms, and proper shipping and storage of samples. If compost operations take better samples by following these TMECC-based guidelines, they will obtain better sampling results, which ultimately benefit the entire composting industry.
The two videos are:
Part I: Sampling Finished Compost - The focus of this video is end process sampling, or sampling compost which has been cured and is ready for marketing to end-users.
Part II: Additional Sampling Techniques - This video provides guidance for sampling to help troubleshoot compost quality issues related to composting operations and provides additional information on sampling for parameters that require additional preparation or specialized equipment.
A downloadable companion reference guide is currently being created and will be available early 2019 on the Foundation's website, www.compostfoundation.org.
Both Sampling Videos can currently be found on the CCREF website: LINK>
The Composting Council Research & Education Foundation supports initiatives that enhance the stature and practices of the composting industry by supporting scientific research, increasing awareness, and educating practitioners and the public to advance environmentally and economically sustainable organics recycling. CCREF was incorporated on June 9, 1992 as a nonprofit 501(c)(3).