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Rockingham County Finding Success in Composting

By: Karen Campbell Email
By: Karen Campbell Email

It often happens that drivers will hit animals, and they aren't always deer along the roadways, but people might be wondering what is done with the animal's carcass.

Warren Heidt, director with Rockingham County Public Works, says the department has a better solution than burying animals along the road: Workers can compost them.

"It's very good for the environment because this is a very clean process," says Heidt.

Right now, he says large animals, like cows, are being composted at the county landfill.

"We just leave it alone for about 90 days. After 90 days, we'll go ahead and dig into the pile and you'll find nothing but bones," says Heidt. "We take tree limbs, branches, we grind it into a mulch. That's the carbon source. In order to get the process going, we'll mix it with a municipal sludge from a waste treatment plant."

Farmers have also found success.

Lynn Koontz is a cattle and poultry farmer in Dayton and says he's been composting on his farm for about 20 years.

"When we've got a better means, a proven means available to us, such as composting, I feel like it would only be common sense to go that route and remove all that other risk," says Koontz.

He says burying animals or roadkill improperly is cause for concern.

"You never know what you might be dealing with there. It could be rabies. It could be Lyme disease, and by composting it, you're keeping that all under control," adds Koontz.

Heidt says the process of composting works and it's been proven in other states.

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