California Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery (CalRecycle) 

Compostable Materials

Responses to Operational Challenges 

The appropriate response to an operational challenge is crucial for the production of an optimal compost product while reducing any negative impact on the surrounding community and/or environment. Below are some responses to challenges and general best management practices to minimize and/or prevent a challenge from occurring.

Best Management Practices (BMP)

The best and most appropriate operating practices (best management practices) are utilized to avoid negative impacts, such as odors and fire. Best management practices (BMP) will also assure a top quality compost product. There are many guidance documents that offer information on BMPs for compostable materials handling sites. One tool for assessing if the BMPs are being used is the operational challenges assessment procedure (OCAP). This procedure was developed to aid operators and regulators in defining operational areas where changes are required to minimize undesirable impacts on the surrounding area. The Comprehensive Compost Odor Response Project (C-CORP) is a report that resulted from the C-CORP Project in response to increasing odor complaints around compost facilities. The report contains best management practices and other solutions to odor problems at compostable materials handling sites.

Odor Complaint Investigations

Odor complaint investigations should be thorough and completed as soon as possible. Increased public scrutiny of composting facilities because of the possible odor nuisances and concerns about health risks continue to be a challenge to the siting and operation of composting facilities near or close to residential areas. A odor impact minimization plan may be revised if the odor complaint investigation reveals that odors from a composting facility are negatively impacting the community.

Odor Impact Minimization Plans

The Odor Impact Minimization Plan (OIMP) regulatory requirements in 14 CCR 17863.4 have been developed to allow an operator to aggressively devise an operational plan to prevent odors from occurring and to plan in advance the mitigation measures that should be taken if odors do occur. The OIMP also contains the site’s complaint investigation procedures which should include a 24 hour phone hotline for receipt of odor complaints, notification to the EA and emergency procedures for the cease and desist of any operations that are causing odor impacts.

Feedstock Quality

Curbside green material and other feedstocks should not contain excessive levels of contaminants. Ongoing education and outreach programs need to be comprehensive and sufficient to reach all sectors of the population. There are some optimum feedstock characteristics which will reduce odors and enhance the compost process. The finished compost product should have very minimal contamination.

Compostable Materials Home

Last updated: May 12, 2009
Compostable Materials, http://www.calrecycle.ca.gov/SWFacilities/Compostables/
Martin Perez: Martin.Perez@calrecycle.ca.gov (916) 323-0834