Texas composter grows with biosolids

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Courtesy of BioCycle Magazine

New Earth Compost and Soils — with facilities in San Antonio and Conroe, Texas — was born 15 years ago out of a local meat packing plant’s long-standing need to dispose of manure from its operation (see “Composting Integrated Into Family Business,” October 2009). It soon became evident that scores of other businesses in and around the San Antonio area, where the first composting facility was opened, shared equally challenging recycling demands. According to Rob Smith, general manager of the company’s Conroe site, New Earth today offers a full slate of products and services.

“Our company philosophy: ‘Pioneering waste solutions for future generations,’ really sets the tone for what we do,” says Smith. “We see the challenges that exist for disposing of green waste products, and have built a business around finding the best solutions possible to minimize their impact — today and down the road. We process a fairly sizeable volume of brush and tree waste to make that happen. In Conroe alone about 9,000 cubic yards (cy) of material get processed each week; the San Antonio location is almost three times the size of ours, so their volumes are obviously much larger, in the 25,000 cy/week range.”

Smith adds that, because New Earth’s customers have come to rely on the high quality nature of its products, both locations only accept clean debris for processing. “We don’t accept C&D wood waste, pallets or anything of that nature,” he explains. “We focus on only virgin material from area land clearing firms, landscapers, tree care services and so on. That has served us well.” New Earth products include a number of different sizes and colors of mulch, various bedding mixes, manure compost and other products that are sold in bulk, as well as 15 other products that it bags and palletizes.

Growing The Business

While the company’s San Antonio location has been accepting biosolids from local wastewater treatment facilities for about a decade, the Conroe site just began processing biosolids in the beginning of 2013, which it receives from several municipalities in the Houston area. Making that happen necessitated some major changes, including construction of a 16-inch-thick, 8-acre concrete pad and a 2.5-acre retention pond. A misting system, supplied by Piian Systems, was installed for odor control. Windrows are turned with a Backhus unit.

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