Environmental Science/Pipe Compost system


Pipe compost
Pipe compost  
Dear Sir,

In our township, we have been provided with Pipe Compost pits for composting domestic wastes. Two PVC pipes of 200mm dia and 1.5 metre length each has been installed vertically in our back yard.We are supposed to fill in the pipes with domestic wastes.The bottom of the pipe alone has soil contact.

After filling the same with domestic wastes,we observe that the waste has converted into a molten material with thousands of short white worms on the surface and a septic tank like foul smell around.The composting condition is anaerobic.

The domestic waste consists of waste and spoiled food from kitchen, vegetable peelings, rotten vegetables & fruits from kitchen, waste of fish cleaning, rice cooked water etc.Due to the liquids in waste, the composting is carried out in anaerobic condition.

The composts are supposed to be used as manures in plants including vegetable plants.

After 45 days whether the compost would have got matured ? Whether such compost could be utilized directly as manure on vegetable plants? whether it would be hygienic ? We are afraid of the smell also.

Kindly advise.

Thanks & regards,

Babal Geoffrey.A

Somewhere between 45 and 60 days will generally be required for the compost to mature, but that's a rule of thumb and not hard and fast. The compost can be used directly as fertilizer on the garden. I would suggest, however some modification to your system.  You have an anaerobic composting system and what you are smelling is Hydrogen Sulfide which is a rotten egg odor, and other organic acids, and those are normal. The worms are also normal as well.
The modifications I would make is to punch several holes near the bottom of the compost tube to allow air in.  I might also put the compost tube on a series of blocks and cover the bottom with a screen. If you space the blocks to allow air to enter the bottom thorugh the screen, you will eliminate a lot of the odor problems and still keep the vermin and rats out of the compost. It is normal for the compost to leak and create a fluid which can sit on the ground. The fluid is harmless.
The only caution I would state is to make sure that household wastes do not include any pesticides in what you feed to the compost.  

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David L. Russell, PE


I`m a Chemical,Civil and Environmental Engineer and have a number of projects in all phases of the environment. I have worked in the chemical industry and am active in professional societies, and am currently on an industrial wastes committee for the Water Environment Federation, and have taught courses in remediation in the US and abroad. I have written one book on Remediation of petroleum Contaminated Sites, and have a second book on PRACTICAL WASTEWATER TREATMENT to be published by John Wiley in September, 2006. I've also written over 30 articles on various elements of environmental problems and cleanup. Most Recently, I have addressed a NATO Scientific and Techical Conference on Ecoterrorism, and have worked with the same group on remediation of sites contaminated with Chemical Warfare Agent materials and othe materials as well. . I can answer q`s about Chemical and Environmental Engineering, land development, air pollution, water pollution, soil and water cleanup, combustion, international environmental problems, industrial processes chemical processes. Civil and Environmental and Chemical Engineering. Overall, I have over 35 years of experience in this area. Note: I do not answer homework questions


I love work in the third world and developing areas because it is challenging and one can get a sense of accomplishment.

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