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metals/plastic in compost pile

Posted by
Theresa - 8
( on
Wed, Dec 15, 99 at 5:33

I am new at composting, especially on a large scale. The community I am working in has over several months been collecting grass clippings and now leaves for the compost pile. It has gotten quiet large.

We have to use a front end loader just to turn it. As a result of using this large equipment we have been seeing plastics and a large rusted 55 gal drum (bent up) in our pile. I don't know if by using this loader and perhaps going to deep into the soil underneath the pile has gotten this debris into the pile or perhaps someone has placed this debris into the pile. But my question is this:

Is the compost pile now contaminated or could I just simple remove is debris and still use the compost? How could I find out if it's contaminated, is there a test I could have done on it, I really don't want to contaminate any beds nor dispose of this huge pile and all the work that has gone into it. Any help and advice is appreciated. Thanks in advance, Theresa

Follow-Up Postings:

RE: metals/plastic in compost pile

I would instinctively recommend having at least the 40 gallon barrel tested. If it contained any form of mineral oil, your whole pile could be contaminated. Hopefully that is not the case. I would think there should be some kind of municipal or state health department to give you some help there.
Good luck!

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