Odour production at professional Agaricus composting sites
K N and P J Harris
ecoli at cix.compulink.co.uk
Tue Aug 20 07:15:10 EST 1996
This has caused quite a few odour problems in Uk. Mainly because the
enterprise started off on an isolated site "deep" in the countryside
until a lot of townies thought it cute and built their dream-homes right
up against the boundary. THEN they noticed that there was a smell,
complained and often got the site closed down. Our planning laws make
I was involved briefly in trying to help a composter try to reduce
odours but I think he eventually went under anyway.
One or two things can help.
(1) If manure is used as an activator keep it as dry as possible and
don't leave it piled up for too long. This is bound to make a real stink
(2) In stage 1 it is very tempting to recycle liquid back onto the
stack. This is invariably bad news because the stored liquor will
inevitably go anaerobic and smelly and the redistribution will give a
superb opportunity for the odours to get spread around to say nothing of
the possible aerosol problems.
(3) Rinsing down stackyards (to an environmentally friendly drainage
system obviously) can stop the rich smell that develops when a mucky
yard starts to dry out in the heat of the sun.
(4) Trials with deodorants suggest they make things worse rather than
More oddball ideas _ a thick coniferous tree belt may have some small
Generous donations of free mushrooms to near neighbours may be just as
More seriously, the potential for ammonium release is significant. In
the Netherlands these operations are more often done inside with air
scrubbers to reduce ammonium (and also odour) release.
Department of Soil Science,
The University of Reading, UK.
AKA <P.J.Harris at reading.ac.uk>
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