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.

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