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Ohio Composting Industry Tour Aug. 24
Ohio Ag Connection - 08/11/2017

This year's Composting in Ohio tour, featuring industry issues and innovative facilities, will center around Lake Erie.

The Aug. 24 event is for anyone interested in commercial or large-scale composting, including business owners, compost facility staff, farmers, scientists and public officials.

Participants on the tour will visit Barnes Nursery Inc.'s compost facility in Huron, which annually turns 20,000 tons of yard waste, food scraps and other materials into plant-friendly soils and composts; and a new system run by the Port of Cleveland and Cleveland's Kurtz Bros. Inc. that recycles sediment dredged from the lake and the Cuyahoga River.

Huron is about 50 miles west of Cleveland along Lake Erie's shore.

Dredged sediment is an issue because a new Ohio law will ban dumping it in Lake Erie's open waters, a longtime disposal method, after July 2020.

Cleveland and other ports on the lake scoop up and get rid of nearly 1.5 million tons of sediment every year to keep their waters deep enough for shipping, according to an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency website.

As a lead-in to the Cleveland stop, a lunch panel discussion at Huron's Sawmill Creek Resort will look at the characteristics of dredged sediment, its approved uses, and the challenges and benefits of using it. Tour organizers say those benefits are twofold: better water quality, and new opportunities for businesses to recycle the sediment and make products from it.

The panel members will be Nick Basta, soil and environmental chemistry professor in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences (CFAES) at The Ohio State University; Maera Flynn, environmental scientist with Ohio EPA; and Jason Ziss, business development director for Kurtz Bros. Inc.

Jim Skora, manager of GT Environmental Inc.'s Stow office, will moderate the panel.

Cleveland's new system captures sand carried by the Cuyahoga River before it gets into Lake Erie, and then cleans and collects it. Doing so cuts the port's dredging and disposal costs. Project partner Kurtz Bros. then uses or sells the sand for compost mixes, construction material and road fill.

The Barnes tour stop will feature a new system for controlling surface water; best practices for handling materials such as food waste; and best management of windrows, compost processing and product development.

The Barnes facility is an Ohio EPA-rated Class II facility. That means it can take in yard, food, animal and agricultural waste that has been separated from other waste at the source of generation or collection. The source, for example, could be a farm, food processing plant or municipal waste disposal service.

General registration for the event is $40. Student registration is $25. Both include lunch. Details about the tour and a registration form can be downloaded at go.osu.edu/2017CompostTour. For more information, contact CFAES's Mary Wicks at wicks.14@osu.edu or 330-202-3533.

Transportation on the tour will be by the participants' own vehicles -- meet at 10 a.m. at the Barnes Compost Facility, 1630 Camp Road, in Huron -- or by a free van ride leaving at 7:30 a.m. from the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARDC), 1680 Madison Ave., in Wooster. Seating in the van is limited and must be reserved when you register. The van will return to Wooster by 6 p.m.

OARDC is CFAES's research arm.

The tour is approved for 3.25 hours of continuing education credit for Registered Sanitarians.

Co-sponsors of the event are CFAES and the Organics Recycling Association of Ohio.

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