Which Compost System is Right for Me (and How Much Will it Cost)?

At O2Compost, we pride ourselves in offering a full range of aerated compost systems:

1)      for all varieties of organic wastes;
2)      for all scales of operation; and
3)      for all budgets. 

All of our composting systems are designed to be simple to operate, with a focus on “chore efficiency”. With aerated composting, turning the pile is unnecessary; in fact, turning the pile impedes the composting process.

All of our composting systems convert raw organic residuals into stable compost in roughly 60 days, yielding a nutrient-rich product that is effectively free of pathogens, parasites and weed seeds.  In addition, our composting systems mitigate impacts to surface and ground water resources, significantly reduce vectors (i.e., flies, birds, rodents and larger wildlife), and eliminate offensive odors.

Each of our Training Programs includes the following features:

  • An aeration equipment package consisting of an electric blower, timer, slide gate valves and a temperature probe for monitoring pile temperatures;
  • Detailed engineering drawings for the system that best fits your needs and preferences;
  • A detailed training manual that discusses the basic principles of aerated composting and provides a prescriptive step-by-step process to follow; and
  • Unlimited Technical Support: Throughout the construction and start-up of your system, we invite you to contact us with questions and to send pictures and temperature data for our review.

AND, with each of our Training Programs we Guarantee Your Success.

This leads us to two very important questions:

1)      Which O2Compost System is right for me?
2)      How much will it cost to construct and operate?

Selecting the O2Compost System that is right for you depends on how you answer the following questions:

  • What do you want to compost (livestock manure, green waste, food scraps, etc.)?
  • What is the volume of material to be composted on a weekly or monthly basis?
  • What do you plan to do with the finished compost: 1) use it; 2) sell it; or 3) both of these?
  • Is the site topography flat or sloping (on-grade system or top-down system, respectively)?
  • Will this be a temporary compost system or will it be a permanent installation?
  • What are your preferences for construction materials (concrete, masonry block, lumber)?
  • Do you prefer a compost system with a low profile lid cover or a higher profile roof?
  • Do you have power readily available or does the system need to be solar powered?
  • And last (or perhaps first) what is your budget for constructing your system?


Least Cost Alternatives ($1,000 to $5,000)

  • Micro-Bin Compost System: The simplest Micro-Bin consists of a portable plywood box that sits directly on the ground.  These are excellent for the 1– to 4-horse owner; for those who are prototyping an initial mix of materials; and for scientific research. Volumes typically range between 2 and 4 cubic yards.
  • Free-Standing Aerated Static Pile (ASP) Compost System: An ASP is semi-portable and is also constructed directly on the ground. The cost of construction is limited to the cost of solid and perforated pipe and the fittings that are used to construct the aeration manifold. Volumes can range between 20 and 500 cubic yards.

Moderate Cost Alternative ($5,000 to $15,000)

  • Benchmark Compost System:
    • The Benchmark System is intended for self-funded projects where the owner/operator will construct part or all of the structure themselves. 
    • They are generally on-grade systems where site preparation is minimal.
    • Construction materials generally consist of lumber (least cost with a 5–10 year lifespan), masonry block or poured-in-place concrete (somewhat greater cost with a 15- to 25-year lifespan).
    • The aeration system is below grade, utilizing two aeration trenches thereby eliminating the need to handle pipes when deconstructing the pile.
    • The bins can be covered with a low profile lid system (least cost) or a higher profile roof (about twice the construction cost).
    • The volume of each compost bin typically ranges between 10 and 25 cubic yards.

Intermediate Cost Alternatives ($15,000 to $25,000)

  • Cornerstone Compost System:
    • The Cornerstone System is best suited for projects that involve multiple stakeholders and that are privately or publicly (e.g., grant) funded.
    • They can be either on-grade or top-down systems where site preparation is somewhat more involved (excavation, base rock and drainage systems).
    • Construction materials generally consist of poured-in-place concrete walls with gates on the front side. 
    • The aeration is below grade utilizing two aeration trenches, thereby eliminating the need to handle pipes.
    • The bins are generally covered with a roof structure (shed, gable or hip roof styles).
    • The volume of each compost bin typically ranges between 10 and 25 cubic yards.
  • Paragon Compost System:
    • The Paragon includes the lumber package and hardware delivered to the site by O2Compost’s affiliate company, Barn Pros, Inc. (www.barnpros.com).
    • They can be either on-grade or top-down systems where site preparation is somewhat more involved (excavation, base rock and drainage systems).
    • Construction materials generally consist of poured-in-place concrete walls with gates on the front side. 
    • The aeration is below grade utilizing two aeration trenches, thereby eliminating the need to handle pipes.
    • The bins are generally covered with a gable style roof structure.
    • The volume of each compost bin typically ranges between 10 and 25 cubic yards.

Highest Cost Alternatives ($25,000 to $75,000)

  • Sterling Compost System:
    • The Sterling System is best suited for projects that involve large volumes of materials and where aesthetics are designed to match that of the surrounding facility. 
    • These can be on-grade or top-down systems but because of the depth of each compost bay, the materials are delivered to and removed from the front of the system.
    • Construction materials generally consist of poured-in-place concrete walls and floor with an expansive shed roof.  Gates on the front-side are often included.
    •  The aeration is below grade utilizing two aeration trenches, thereby eliminating the need to handle pipes.
    • The volume of each compost bay can range from 25 to 100 cubic yards.
    • Block Bay System:
      • The Block Bay System is best suited for projects that involve large volumes of materials but where aesthetics are of less importance.
      • These can be on-grade or top-down systems but because of the depth of each compost bay, the materials are delivered to and removed from the front of the system.
      • Construction materials consist of stackable concrete blocks and the floor is poured concrete such that the pad locks the first tier of blocks firmly in place.
      • The front-side is generally left open, without gates.
      • The aeration system can consist of either above-grade aeration pipes or below-grade aeration trenches.
      • The volume of each compost bin typically ranges between 50-300 cubic yards.

The Operating Cost

The operating cost of any of the O2Compost Systems is very low given that very little electrical power is required to operate the blower, resulting in a few dollars per month added to your normal power bill.  The only other cost is for fuel (a few gallons per month) and labor (generally your own). Maintenance and repair costs are also minimal given the overall simplicity of the system.  For small systems, an annual operating budget of $25 to $30 is typical, ranging up to $100 for medium and larger scale systems. 

 

What is Your Next Step?

1)      We invite you to visit the Projects page of our website to see many examples of the O2Compost Systems that are discussed above. 

2)      If you see something that you like and you are thinking that this is a simple and elegant solution for managing manure on your farm, contact us.  We’ll visit with you for a half hour or so to learn more about the specifics of your situation and answer all of your questions.

3)      We will send you a detailed proposal for the system that seems like the best fit.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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We will contact you to schedule a time to talk about your specific needs and to answer all of your questions about composting. We look forward to hearing from you!

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