Composting is an earth-friendly activity as long as some common sense rules outlined below are followed.  If you choose to compost, the following Best Management Practices should be utilized. For more information about composting, contact your local County Extension Service or the Soil and Water Conservation District, which are listed here.

Suggested Best Management Practices:

  • Locate compost piles on an unpaved area where runoff can soak into the ground or be filtered by grass and other vegetation.  Alternately, locate compost piles on hard surfaces and provide containment.
  • Compost piles should be located in an area of your yard not prone to water ponding during storms, and should be kept well away from wetlands, streams, lakes and other drainage paths.
  • Avoid putting hazardous or non-decomposable waste in the pile.  Examples include plastics, styrofoam, pesticides, herbicides, and household chemicals. 
  • Cover the compost pile for two reasons:
    • To keep storm water from washing nutrients into waterways.
    • To keep excess water from cooling down the pile, which will slow down the rate of decomposition.
  • Build bins of wood, chicken wire or fencing material to contain compost so it can’t be washed away.
  • Building a small earthen dike around your compost pile is an effective means of preventing nutrient-rich compost drainage from reaching stormwater paths.
  • Check with your local solid waste collection facility to determine if they offer composting.
  • A fun alternative to traditional composting is worm composting.  You can let worms do all the work for you by keeping a small vermiculture box just outside your kitchen.