Stinky Compost Pile
August 14, 2012
Recently, a woman called me at the Valencia County Environmental Health Department to complain that her neighbor’s compost pile stinks. I’m a NM Compost Facility Operator, so naturally I want to head to her neighbor’s house and go play in the pile to make it work! Of course, I’m with the government (and not in Code Enforcement), so I can’t do that. Are you guys in any position to help out in this situation? In what ways could we collaborate for future compost promotion and improvement?
Answer by JZ: Thanks for your inquiry. I’m copying to one of our masters who lives in Bosque Farms and may be able to consult with you on the situation.
Some people smell with their eyes! Some composting is unpleasantly fragrant when an operation goes anaerobic and produces methane and hydrogen sulfide gases. This may be related to inadequate aeration due to compaction and/or increased amounts of nitrogenous material which is moist and easily compacts. The question is is the “offending” home owner open to advice on the situation? One would have to contact that person to find out, then go from there.
The Bernco Master Composter group is always available to you for consultation and teaching: nmcomposters.org
* We could present a basic home composting class (s) in your community in the future- free/open to the public.
* We could encourage Kyle Tater, the Valencia Co. horticultural agent to identify/encourage some from the community to take our master composter training in the future, so that you would have help locally.
I will follow up our Valencia Master Composter then get back to you. Let me know if this is helpful to you so far.