Compsting Arsonic

The International Compost Sanitation Forum and Message Board: Humanure Handbook - A Guide to Composting Human Manure: Compsting Arsonic
Author: Stephen Linebaugh
Tuesday, August 07, 2001 - 9:33 am
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Studies in the University of Fla. have found that the Brake Fern (pteris vittata)consumes super high levels of arsenic. It thrives on the poison.
Now, in the Humanure Handbook, it is advised to stay away from treated lumber and rightly so. But what I would like to know is if arsenic is compostable? And will/can composting destroy the cancerous poison?
Stephen
"OAK"

Author: shelly skye
Wednesday, August 08, 2001 - 11:37 pm
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according to results i read in organic gardening magazine a year or so back, the richer the soil in a garden, the more likely it is that the chemicals in treated wood will leach into the surrounding soil. so this is why it is not advisable to use treated lumber in compost bins or in any structure that will touch the soil. i don't know the exact month they ran that article but they are pretty good at getting back with people when the email for this kind of information. they are at www.organicgardening.com. good luck.

Author: Michael Rudmin
Saturday, February 01, 2003 - 5:47 am
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Could I just note here? Arsenic is an element -- it doesn't break down.. You can't destroy it. You can either hide it, or consume it and dispose of it safely -- but you can't destroy it.

Ideally, we would take the arsenic, and put it in with the nuclear waste in the tunnels 2 miles beneath the Utah desert. That aside, the next best thing you could do would be: (1) grow the brake fern (2) harvest the brake fern (3) sell it to companies that want to extract arsenic for commercial use.

That way, at least they won't be contributing to adding more arsenic to the environment, but will be reusing arsenic that was already in the environment.

Aside from that, I'm not really sure what could be done.

Author: Stephen
Sunday, February 02, 2003 - 4:28 pm
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Thank you Michael for that info. I learned about arsonic and the Brake Fern awhile back and had the idea of composting the arsonic rich ferns, yes, to destroy it. The handbook tells stories of compost eradicating heavy metals and even radiation. I thought that arsonic would be a simple matter.

Author: Shawn Tisdell
Tuesday, December 23, 2003 - 8:26 am
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One way to think of the compostability of metals such as arsenic is like finding plastic and tin foil in your compost after the composting action has occurred. Because the volume of organic material has decreased the uncompostable fraction remains behind and at much higher concentrations as compared to the whole volume. Does that make sense?

The arsenic stays behind. Michael is correct about Arsenic being an element, but so is carbon. Carbon, when bonded with one oxygen is carbon monoxide. A poision to our system. But with two oxygens-normal respiration. It is also important what compound or form arsenic is in.

It would make sense that the more active a soil is (with lots of diverse chemical reactions going on) that treated lumber could more easily be broken down, but as I described previous, we will just be concentrating any noncompostable fractions (like arsenic).

The Brake Fern apparently concentrates arsenic in its leaves 200 times over that of the soil it is grown in. So if we would compost the arsenic rich Brake Fern we would concentrate the arsenic even further. Apparently they find an "appropriate" disposal method for the ferns. Could it be reused?...

I wish this composting/disposal stuff was simple. I spent three years of my life studying heavy metals in compost, their forms and potential availability. The answer-don't use the stuff in the first place. It is like opening Pandora's Box.

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, December 24, 2003 - 6:52 am
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Thanks for your input.

Author: Stephen
Friday, January 02, 2004 - 11:29 pm
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Yes, Thanks

Author: Anonymous
Wednesday, January 12, 2005 - 10:45 am
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I have found the best compost aid it is from
nitron industries it works wornders on the prossess

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