information sheet

compost regulations

If your feedstock includes food scraps:
} Y  ou must be able to proveyourcompostmeetstheNSWFoodWasteCompostExemptionbefore it is applied to landotherwiseyouandyourenduserarebreaching the POEO(Waste)regulation.You must provideyour customerswithwrittenproofthecompostiscoveredbytheNSWFoodWasteCompostExemption. I fyouarecompostingonapotentiallycontaminatedsite(e.g.landfill)you musttestyourcompostfor chemicalandheavymetalcontaminationsothatyouandyourbuyersareawareifthereareanyrestrictions onitsuseorsale. T  hetestsandtestingmethodologyfordemonstratingpasteurisationandforchemicalandheavymetal contaminationareoutlinedintheNSWBiosolidsGuidelines. A  ustraliahasavoluntaryCompostStandard.CompostthatmeetstheAS4454compoststandardisnice,but compostthatmeetspasteurisation/pathogenreductionthresholdsoutlinedintheNSWFoodWasteCompost Exemptioniscompulsory. I nourexperienceofcontinuouscompostingoverthreeyears,ifyoufollowtheGroundswellCompostingProcess faithfullyandtakecarewiththesamplingmethodology,youshouldhavenoproblemsmeetingtheregulations.

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Key documents:
Important: } } } N  SW Food Waste Compost Exemptionavailableat: www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/waste/ex08foodcompost.pdf Environmental Guidelines – Use and Disposal of Biosolids Products, NSWEPA,2000(referredtoas‘theBiosolids Guidelines’)availablethroughpublicationsatwww.environment.nsw.gov.au AS4454AustralianCompostStandard.

What tests should we do?
You MUST do these tests: NSWBiosolidsPathogenReductionTest(alsoreferredtoasa‘microbicalstabilisation’test). NSWBiosolidsChemicalContaminantsandHeavyMetalTests. It is DESIRABLE that you do this test: AS4454CompostStandard–compliancetest. It is SENSIBLE if you also do this test: CompostAnalysisthatincludesageneralanalysis(someoverlapwithAS4454)plusavailableandtotalnutrients, CationExchangeCapacity(CEC),ExchangeableCations,CationBalanceandsuggestedamendments.Thisisthe testthatwillbemosthelpfultofarmersandotherendusers.Itdoesnothavearegulatoryuse.WeusedSWEP Laboratories1forthesetests.Itmakessensetousealaboratorythatyourfarmersorenduserstrust.

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www.swep.com.au

Pasteurisation/Pathogen Reduction/Microbial Stabilisation
Pasteurisationensuresweeds,seeds,spores,pathogensanddiseasesarenolongerpresentinthe compost.Pasteurisationoccursat55–70degreesc2.

The Food Waste Compost Exemption states:
Pasteurisation means a process whereby the food waste and/or raw mulch, source separated garden organics, forestry and sawmill residues and urban wood residues, are treated to significantly reduce the numbers of plant and animal pathogens and plant propagules. It must undergo: a) Appropriate turning of outer material to the inside of the windrow so that the whole mass is subjected to a minimum of 3 turns with the internal temperatures reaching a minimum of 55°C for 3 consecutive days before each turn, or b) An alternative process that guarantees the same level of pathogen reduction as required by ARMCANZ, and the elimination of plant propagules. Becausewedonotturnourcompostthreetimes,wedonotdemonstratepasteurisationasaresultofprocessso weneedtodemonstrateitthoughoptionb:‘an alternative process that guarantees the same level of pathogen reduction as required by ARMCANZ, and the elimination of plant propagules’. ARMCANZmeanstheAustralian Guidelines for Sewerage Systems – Biosolids Management 3,publishedin1995by theARMCANZWaterTechnologyCommittee,Canberra.IfyouareinNSW,theNSW Biosolids Guidelinestrumpthe ARMCANZguidelinesfromaregulatoryperspective,sowemustlooktotheBiosolidsGuidelinesforourpathogen reductiontest.

The pathogen reduction test, outlined in the Biosolids Guidelines is:
Stabilisation Grade A Microbial Standards Parameter E-coli Faecalcoliforms Salmonellasp. MPN=mostprobablynumber  Standard  <100MPNpergram(dryweight)  <1,000MPNpergram(dryweight)  NotDetected/50gramsoffinalproduct(dryweight)

Dependingonyoursituation,youmaydecideitiseasierorpreferabletodemonstratepasteurisationbyprocess (optionA).Inthiscase,youcansuccessfullyaddathirdturnandinoculationphasetotheGroundswellComposting Processpriortothematurationphase,orafterscreening.FollowthesameprocessforGroundswell Information Sheet – Reprocessing to address a High E-Coli Result.Accuratetemperaturerecordswouldneedtobekeptasproof ofpasteurisation.

Elimination of Plan Propagules
Intheory,acompostingprocessthatproducessufficientheattoachievepathogenreductionwillalsoeliminate planpropagules(seedsorspores).Youcandoyourownplantpropaguletest,getanagronomisttodoitorpayfor ittobedonebyalaboratory(asanoptionalextraintheAS4454text).Themethodologyfortheplantpropagule testisoutlinedinAppendixMoftheAS4454CompostStandard. Youneedtobeabletodemonstratethatnoseedssurviveyourcompostingprocess,sodothetestsregularlyand keepgoodrecords.
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www.recycledorganics.com/infosheets/3pqc/IS3-06.pdf Nowknownas:NationalResourceManagementMinisterialCouncilAustralian Guidelines for Sewerage Treatment Systems – Biosolids Management, Nov.2004

For updates and more information on the Groundswell project go to: www.groundswellproject.blogspot.com
Written by Simone Dilkara, 2010. Graphic design/illustration by Carolyn Brooks This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License and can be reproduced providing the Groundswell project is acknowledged as the original source. The Groundswell Project was assisted by the NSW Government through its Environmental Trust

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