I came across an interesting article at Science Daily today describing the large-scale vermicomposting system developed by Tom Herlihy of RT Solutions Inc to process dairy manure. It sounds pretty cool. Worm power is the name of the worm compost product that is produced.
Here is a blurb from the article:
Initially, the manure is subjected to a series of heat treatments in a composting process to ensure the elimination of weed seeds and potential pathogens to meet U.S. Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection Agency standards. Next, red worms, a specific type of earthworm used for vermiculture, digest the organic waste. The worms’ digestive system, along with bacteria inside the digestive tract, accelerates the decomposition and stabilization of the organic matter.
The process is also fast and efficient. One pound of worms can digest up to a half pound of organic material per day. The process can transform 1,320,000 pounds of raw manure into a high-quality soil fertility product in approximately 60 days. According to Herlihy, the final product has the wonderful look and feel of dark coffee grounds with a pleasant, slightly earthy aroma.
Here’s a link to the full article: Worm Power: The Future Of Composting
I decided to see if I could track down a website for RT Solutions, and was able to find one dedicated to the Worm Power product line (worm compost and worm tea). It is a great website with lots of information, not to mention a cool photo of Herlihy’s flow-through reactors (on the “Worm Power in the News” page).
Here is some info from their “About Us” page:
RT Solutions (dba Worm Power) owns and operates the largest process controlled vermicomposting facility in the Eastern United States. Our facility is integrated with a 4th generation family “Dairy of Distinction” in the Finger Lakes region of Western New York.
Marketed under the WORM POWER brand name, large volumes of premium organic soil fertility products are produced at our state of the art facility under strict quality controlled conditions in a three part patent pending system. Initially the organic materials from the dairy are processed in a thermophilic composting step (high heat) that ensures that Worm Power is free of weed seeds and that it is certified to meet all USDA and EPA standards for possible pathogen destruction. Next, over 8 million earthworms (commonly referred to as red worms) organically process the material under specific and controlled conditions to give WORM POWER its outstanding soil fertility building properties.
[UPDATE 2018: Tom Herlihy no longer works for Worm Power and they have removed the old About us page and any mention of RT Solutions]