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"Dirty" conference in Norman focuses on compost

Photo courtesy Cody Parmenter Photography
Bulldozing the compost in Cleveland County.
Fertile Ground Compost Service
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NORMAN, Okla. -- Municipalities, construction and solid waste companies, students and other purveyors of earth will get the dirt on composting at the third annual Oklahoma Compost Conference on Oct. 5 at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Norman.

The conference, started in 2015, is designed to discuss the benefits for composting to the environment, as well as communities and businesses.

Michelle Loudenback, Stormwater Program Specialist for the City of Norman, is one of the speakers for the conference.

“I feel that the conference is a great vehicle for sharing and learning new and helpful information, especially as we try to improve the environment in general and water quality specifically,” she said 

With an eye on the optimal goal of sustainability, the conference is put together by an unofficial coalition including the City of Midwest City, The Department of Environmental Quality, Fertile Ground, Ideal Homes, Minick Materials, The UCO Foundation and Sustainable OKC.

Kelly Dillow, DEQ Environmental Program Specialist, said the conference this year is mostly concentrated on utilizing compost, organic recycling which takes that which was grown in the dirt and makes it into dirt again, for storm water and construction projects.

“Composting is the gateway drug to sustainability,” she said.

Dillow said the organizing group was excited to see not only an uptick in conference attendance, but also a huge increase in composting projects, such as a pilot project with the Oklahoma Department of Transportation. It is imperative for road construction and integrity that vegetation prevents erosion from weakening the supporting earth.

At the Oklahoma Compost Conference. (Photo courtesy Cody Parmenter Photography)

Dillow said that by increasing the organic material in soil from 1 percent to 5 percent, it can retain an additional 250 gallons of water per cubic yard. Dillow reported that the Texas Department of Transportation has mandated compost in construction for several years.

“Composting can improve or replace traditional engineering products,” Dillow said, citing lower costs for fertilizer, sod, and erosion control products.

The conference agenda is composed of talks from speakers from The Nature Conservancy, Washington State University Extension, and state and local agencies. It includes breakout sessions on backyard composting and construction site storm water regulations. There is also a soil erosion demonstration from the Oklahoma Conservation Commission.

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Penny Ridenour

Penny Ridenour is a transplant Oklahoman of almost 20 years with enough red dirt under her...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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