Characterizing the physical and chemical properties of a vermicompost filter bed

Taylor, M., Clarke, W. P., Greenfield, P. F. and Swain, G. J. (2004) Characterizing the physical and chemical properties of a vermicompost filter bed. Compost Science and Utilization, 12 4: 383-391.

Author Taylor, M.
Clarke, W. P.
Greenfield, P. F.
Swain, G. J.
Title Characterizing the physical and chemical properties of a vermicompost filter bed
Journal name Compost Science and Utilization   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1065-657X
Publication date 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 12
Issue 4
Start page 383
End page 391
Total pages 9
Editor J. Goldstein
N. Clark
Place of publication USA
Publisher J G Press, Inc
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
291103 Environmental Engineering Design
770502 Land and water management
Abstract Vermicompost filtration is a new on-site waste treatment system. Consequently, little is known about the filter medium properties. The aim of this preliminary study was to quantify physical and compositional properties of vermicompost filter beds that had been used to treat domestic solid organic waste and wastewater. This paper presents the trials performed on pilot-scale reactors filled with vermicompost from a full-scale vermicompost filtration system. Household solid organic waste and raw wastewater at the rate of 130 L/m(2)/d was applied to the reactor bed surface over a four-month period. It was found that fresh casts laid on the bed surface had a BOD of 1290 mg/g VS while casts buried to a depth of 10 cm had a BOD of 605 mg/g VS. Below this depth there was little further biodegradation of earthworm casts despite cast ages of up to five years. Solid material in the reactor accounted for only 7-10% of the reactor volume. The total voidage comprised of large free-draining pores, which accounted for 15-20% of the reactor volume and 60-70% micropores, able to hold up water against gravity. It was shown that water could flow through the medium micropores and macropores following a wastewater application. The wastewater flow characteristics were modeled by a two-region model based on the Richards Equation, an equation used to describe porous spatially heterogeneous materials.
Keyword Ecology
Soil Science
Eisenia-foetida Oligochaeta
Q-Index Code C1

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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 05:01:39 EST