The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Evaluation of methodology in analyzing compost for erosion control

TitleEvaluation of methodology in analyzing compost for erosion control
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsHo CL, Wong K, Reckhow DA
JournalTransportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board
Start Page107
KeywordsCategory IIIC

Preventing erosion has been considered an important, pressing issue for decades. The latest techniques in conventional erosion control near wetlands use hay bales and silt fences. Although these conventional methods may reduce the amount of erosion, their effectiveness is infrequently reliable. Such methods are considered the standard means of erosion prevention in Massachusetts. Research from other states demonstrates growing interest in the use of compost for erosion control. The purpose of research was to determine the environmental acceptability of wood wastes and composted materials from various locations throughout Massachusetts to control erosion. Specific validation was done on the methodology constructed to test compost for individual analytes. Nutrient measurements consisted of total organic carbon, total nitrogen, and total phosphorus. Testing for microbial growth included enterococci and E. coli. The pH was also measured. Further assessment included a statistical analysis of the data, conducted to ensure repeatability of results from the test methods. Nine different sample locations were included in the testing. Synthetic precipitation was passed through each sample, and the effluent was collected at various time intervals. Overall, concentrations of each analyte decreased expectedly with leaching. Of note is that the average carbon-nitrogen ratio was 11:1, typical for plant organic material. Furthermore, the compost beneficially acted as a pH buffer. The repeatability of results is supportive of testing procedures, for ratios of replicate samples because both total organic carbon and total nitrogen concentrations justified a semipredictable trend despite nonquantifiable variability.