Land Farming Treatment of Waste

Land farming, or “land treatment” is a recognized form of waste treatment, although it is closer to composting than it is to the other treatment technologies we cover at Malsparo. Land farming takes place outdoors and is called "bioremediation."

The process involves spreading waste out in a shallow layer across a piece of land - the waste is on the soil. Sometimes the waste is sewn into the soil, but not too deep. Over a period of several months, the Sun and soil bacteria break down the waste.

Land farming has been proven effective in treating petroleum waste. That waste is liquid or semi-liquid and composed almost entirely of organic compounds. You have to be careful about what kind of waste you put on the ground. Inorganic materials are less likely to break down, and heavy metals may harm the microorganisms in the soil.

Several operating parameters have proven important. The process is not effective in cold temperatures (under 50 F). It is also best if the soil is porous so aerobic processes can occur. There should also be some moisture - bioremediation does not do well in a dry environment - and the pH of the soil should be about neutral.

Operating costs are low once the waste has been applied. You will have to monitor the site, perhaps with weekly chemical analysis. When treatment is complete, no further action is needed. You do not pick up the treated waste; it becomes part of the ground.

A relatively large area of land is required. You will also have to get authorization from your state regulatory agency. They will not permit land treatment of biological waste, but other waste produced at healthcare facilities may be acceptable.