Organics: Western Branch Compost Facility, Prince Georges County, MD

Western Branch 12 Bunker Compost Facility – SG MEGA™ System with GORE® Covers, Upper Marlboro, Maryland

USCC 2020 Award-Winning Facility

Background
Sustainable Generation helped Prince Georges County to develop and run a pilot program using a mobile version of their aerated static pile composting system to demonstrate the ability to efficiently compost food waste into a marketable product. After the successful initial demonstration, and two subsequent expansions of the mobile system, the County elected to build a permanent 12 bunker system to meet their increasing demand for food waste disposal. The 12 bunker system is the first phase of an ultimate 36 bunker system and currently processes approximately 57,000 tons per year of finished compost.

Challenge

Aerial view of the Western Branch 12 Bunker System

The 12 bunker system consists of cast-in-place bunkers with trench drains set in concrete bunker floors that simultaneously capture leachate and supply air to the bunkers. The leachate drains by gravity from each bunker to a leachate sump and then is pumped to a 6,150-gallon storage tank system where it is stored and aerated where it can be reused in the composting process or hauled off-site for treatment.

A major challenge with this facility’s construction revolved around a tight County budget and an aggressive schedule. To accomplish the County’s goals the award for the design/build contract went to a partnership team of Sustainable Generation and SCS Engineers, to speed up the project delivery process and provide budgetary assurance.

Outcomes and Benefits
The design and construction of this facility were completed within 1 year. The Western Branch 12 Bunker System is now processing 70,000 tons of yard trim and food waste into compost annually for Prince Georges County and has set the standard for these types of compost facilities. This facility is currently the largest of its type on the East coast with the ability to compost approximately 100,000 tons of yard trim, wood waste, leaves, and food waste into compost. Two separate products are produced, LeafGro® (from only yard trim, leaves and wood waste) and Leafgro Gold® (yard trim and food waste).

This project was completed on time and on budget and provides a top of the line facility that will serve the County and region for decades to come.

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