A three-year study by Iowa State University shows compost may be a good material for preventing runoff and erosion at construction sites. Researcher Tom Glanville says they used the compost on slopes where it was difficult to get vegetation to grow. He says it provides immediate erosion and runoff control before vegetation begins to grow. He says it gives another option to those who’re working on Iowa’s roadways. He says if there are bad weather conditions or the project is wrapping up late in the season, the compost can be laid down. Glanville says they laid down two to four inches of the compost right over the soil. They used a biosolids sewage compost from Davenport, municipal yard waste compost from Des Moines, and paper mill sludge and grain processing compost from Cedar Rapids.Compost is readily available, but Glanville can’t say how much it would cost to use it in construction. He says this study didn’t look at the cost, it focused on how the compost worked in controlling the erosion and helping the vegetation grow at the construction sites. The tests were conducted at construction sites and at times they used rainfall simulators to test the runoff.
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