According to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), before we can take food out of the Drum, temperatures inside the drum must be at least 131° for 3 consecutive days. Sometimes, for various reasons, our temperatures are not high enough. If the drum is full & we have not had our 3 days of high temperatures, we cannot continue packing food into the drum. Therefore, we throw it away on these days or send it to Danny's Dumpsters.
DENR also requires us to track the temperatures of the piles. The piles must be at an elevated temperature for at least 14 days, above 104º F, at an average of 113º F. At this time the compost is safe to use, and free of pathogens.
There are a lot of legal requirements that we must meet in order to maintain our operation. It is not a simple matter of just putting food in the drum and unloading wonderful compost from the other side. We are also required by DENR to perform several tests upon the finished compost. Each of the following tests must be performed every 6 months:
October-November of 2009 Warren Wilson College finally achieved the final permit for the compost drum.