A bright and sunny day greeted members at Veolia’s impressive 60k tonne In-vessel composting facility, nestled in woodland in the heart of the East Sussex countryside.
After a morning of presentations from REA staff, including an update on ORG and REA activities from Jeremy Jacobs, recent news on progress on the BREF review from Jenny Grant and also an update from Georgia Phetmanh on all the Certification activity both in the CCS and BCS schemes, delegates were given an excellent lunch courtesy of Veolia.
The afternoon was spent touring the extensive composting operation and provided members an opportunity to ask both Colin Hirsh and Stephen Pritchard some challenging questions!
This facility was constructed as part of a larger PFI contract back in 2009. After some initial construction issues were resolved, the facility came on stream as a fully ABP approved facility. Currently the site only treats a small volume of food waste as there is little available from food waste collections locally within the East Sussex catchment area, however the site has the ability to treat any that becomes available in the foreseeable future.
The eight 375 ton capacity tunnels, are designed by a Dutch company Waste Treatment Technologies (WTT) and constructed to a very high specification with a fully automated environmental control air handling system which controls the fan speeds and oxygen levels within the substrate. All the air that is discharged from the tunnels is vented through two wood chip filled biofilters located on the roof tunnels after travelling through a water bath to remove dust and particulate matter.
The tunnels are single ended with a central processing hall. Compost undergoes a two process treatment spending a week in a tunnel prior to being refilled into another tunnel for a further week. Maturation takes place within a fully enclosed negatively aerated building with an aerated floor.
After six weeks maturation, the material is either bagged as 0-10 mm product under the ‘Pro-Grow’ label, for retail sales and distribution at a number of the local Household Waste recycling Centres operated by Veolia. 20- 40mm product is also sold for use in local agriculture with all material carrying the PAS 100 label. Product quality is at the heart of Veolia’s strategy for this site as well as product value enhancement and it was evident from what we saw that they take quality management from receipt of inputs to despatch very seriously.
Many thanks to our hosts Colin and Stephen for opening their doors to the REA, it provided an insight into 21st century composting for all to see.
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