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When organic materials containing sufficient moisture and inorganic nutrients are placed or accumulate in piles with adequate porosity, the natural process of self-heating occurs. As microorganisms utilize the organics as a carbon and energy source, heat is released and accumulates in the self-insulating material, leading to increased temperatures.

Composting is a waste treatment technology which takes advantage of this natural phenomenon (Finstein et al. 1986; Strom and Finstein 1995). It thus can be defined as a mainly aerobic, self-heating, solid phase, biological treatment process.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2001

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  • Proceedings of the Water Environment Federation is an archive of papers published in the proceedings of the annual Water Environment Federation® Technical Exhibition and Conference (WEFTEC® ) and specialty conferences held since the year 2000. These proceedings are not peer reviewed.

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