Control and Mitigation of Persistent Herbicides in MSW Composts 

Investigator: Ohio State University 
Start Date: January 2024 
Award Amount: $228,000 
 
Composting is one of the primary methods used for solid waste management. Organic materials constitute more than half of municipal solid waste streams and many communities increasingly seek to divert them from landfilling. Persistent herbicides (PH) pose an existential threat to composting use for solid waste management. Chemical analysis to detect PH is inconsistent, expensive and few labs have this capability. Feed stocks containing the highest PH concentrations, and the extent of PH in composts is not well known. While activated carbon can mitigate this problem, low-cost amendments such as biochar and wood ash are highly variable in this ability. Predictive models are needed to determine their efficacy. The objectives of this research project are to:  

  1. Optimize PH bioassay detection methods for composts and feedstocks for use by operators. 
  2. Develop low-cost mitigation methods and materials with predictable activity for there mediation of PH contaminated composts. 
  3. Survey the prevalence of PH contamination in finished composts and correlate this with feedstocks, region, and processing parameters.