Worms turning sewage to compost
Taupo’s sewage is being recycled and will be put on gardens – rather than the landfill.
For the past six months, Taupo District Council has been working with MyNOKE, which specialises in ‘‘vermicomposting.’’
Vermis is Latin for ‘‘worm’’. Vermicomposting is a process where human waste products are mixed with paper, green waste products, and worms to create compost.
Once the 12 to 18 month composting process is complete, the council will be able to use the product on its green spaces.
Mayor David Trewavas said it was an environmental triumph for the district.
‘‘There are so many benefits for us as a district with vermicomposting – from saving space in our landfills to recycling our waste in an environmentallyfriendly way,’’ he said.
‘‘This is future-proofing for us and the fact we can use the compost it creates makes it even more impressive.’’
The compost is said to be ideal for lawn soil. Pumice makes up 10 per cent of its volume, meaning it offers excellent drainage.
Ten tonnes of sewage waste turns into two or three tonnes of compost.
Since February 1000 tonnes of sewage sludge has been diverted from the landfill to the 6000 square metre vermicomposting site on View Rd, near Aratiatia Dam.
Another 4000 tonnes has been taken from ‘‘maturation pits’’ to the site.
MyNOKE chairman Max Morley said the compost was safe for all garden and agricultural use and met New Zealand standards for composts, soil conditioners, and mulches.
‘‘There are a lot of councils that continue to pump their sewage into landfills or the ocean,’’ Morley said.
MyNOKE has six vermicomposting sites around New Zealand and has been working with Rotorua, Hamilton and Western Bay of Plenty councils, he said.
‘‘The thing that struck us about Taupo was the willingness to make the best possible decision as opposed to the comfortable, easy decision,’’ Morley said.
The company uses 1.2 billion earthworms to transform 150,000 tonnes of organic wastes into compost each year.
The compost product is already used on maize fields and kiwifruit orchards.