Sunday, August 13, 2006

Human waste composted in cold Alaska

Despite frigid temperatures well below freezing, human waste composting piles in Fairbanks, Alaska stay hot, in one case reaching 206 degrees F, and create high quality compost for local gardeners.

Faced with problems in disposing of sewage in the area only 120 miles from the Arctic Circle, planners turned to large composting fields covered with layers of wood chips to insulate the piles from the cold.

Previously it was thought that composting would not work in regions this cold as bacteria become dormant at very low temperatures.

The compost created in the fields has the Environmental Protection Agency's highest rating and is collected for free by residents for use in growing gardens and lawns.

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