Advantages and Disadvantages of Composting

The main advantages of sludge composting are the following:

• Compost has an abundance of nutrients and is suitable for a wide variety of end uses, such as landscaping, topsoil blending, and growth media.

• Compost has less nitrogen than biosolids from other stabilization processes, due to the loss of ammonia during composting. However, nitrogen in compost is released more slowly and is available to plants over a long period of time, which is more consistent with plant uptake needs.

• Well-composted sludge can meet the requirements for class A biosolids and can be sold to distributors and the public.

• Compost increases the water content and retention of sandy soils.

• Compost increases aeration and water infiltration of clay soils.

• Windrow and aerated static pile processes have the flexibility to handle changing feed characteristics and peak loads, require relatively simple mechanical equipment, and are simple to operate.

• In-vessel processes require relatively small areas and have the ability to control odors.

The main disadvantages of composting are the following:

• Windrow and aerated static pile composting require relatively large areas, and odor control is a common problem.

• Ambient temperatures and weather conditions influence windrow and aerated static pile composting.

• In-vessel reactors have limited flexibility to handle changing conditions and are maintenance intensive.

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