In-Vessel Composters

In-Vessel Composters

You work hard to maximize production. Now you can increase your profits by recycling your excess biomass through in-vessel composting using aerobic digestion, with NO additional energy costs.

Currently in use nation-wide at dairy, poultry and horse farms, packing houses and school cafeterias.

White-Paper-on-In-Vessel-Composting (pdf)

These remarkable in-vessel composters require no additional fuel for achieving composting temperatures. These models are presently in successful operation at dairy farms, poultry farms, horse stables, correctional institutes, sheep and goat packing plants, beef packing plants, auto plant cafeterias, high school cafeterias, college cafeterias and a hog farrowing company in Missouri, New York, Texas, Colorado, Virginia, North Carolina, Mississippi, Kentucky, West Virginia, California, Kansas, Michigan and Hawaii.

The composted product from your waste stream is a good substitute for peat, an excellent media for nurseries, landscapers, row crop growers, parks, golf courses and the homeowner market. Let the South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District show you how.

* Waste is retained on-site until composted, eliminating the need to transport raw waste on highways to a centralized composting yard.

* Composting can be completed rapidly, resulting in product stabilization/sanitation in 3-6 days.

* While in the composter, raw wastes are isolated from the environment until the composting process is complete.

* The site manager has precise control of moisture, temperature and aeration during the composting process.

* The raw waste loses all offensive odors within 24 hours of composter start-up.

* In-vessel composting can maintain a rapid decomposition process year-round regardless of external ambient conditions.

* This composting process utilizing separated solids from a freestall barn produces a high quality organic material resembling peat moss.

Prices range from under $10,000 for a portable composter unit.  The larger composter units are made for permanent installation with a capacity of 96 c.y. of material, producing 32 c.y. per day continuous flow.

The cost of a demonstration  can be applied to your purchase. Call Morgan Levy at the South Dade Soil & Water Conservation District for information specific to your needs, or to set up a demonstration.

Photo above:  Custom built Demonstration Unit with mixer/grinder machine on tandem axel, long trailer (22′). Price available upon request.

wide, 52′ long, 14’9″high.

NOTE:  All prices are F.O.B. factory, plus installation.  All prices are subject to change.  Above pricing is for in-vessel composter only.  Any auxillary equipment (conveyors, mixers, grinders, etc.) are extra.

South Dade Soil And Water Conservation District

1450 N. Krome Avenue, Suite 104 ,  Florida City , FL   33034

(305) 242-1288  Fax:  305-242-1292



By:  Morgan Levy , Administrator, South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District

The South Dade Soil and Water Conservation District (SDSWCD), a non-profit governmental subdivision of the State of Florida , has developed a program for large producers of organic materials to be able to compost and reuse those materials on their property, saving the disposal costs and avoiding landfill expansion.  Food waste, paper waste, yard waste, animal waste and sludge from sewage plants can all be composted, providing a valuable soil amendment.  UP TO 70% OF THE SOLID WASTE STREAM IS ORGANIC WASTE. SOLID WASTE REDUCTION IS A GOAL OF LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS.

The use of an in-vessel aerobic composter provides the opportunity for universities,  schools, resorts,  theme parks and super markets, to combine their organic materials into a recipe that can be composted on their grounds in only three days.  The resulting compost is then a rich organic soil amendment that can be used on the site landscaping instead of chemical fertilizers.  Super markets can bag the compost and market it.


This can be a highly successful program at universities and schools all over the country.  The food waste must be separated from the plastic metal and glass in the cafeterias and  kitchens  by the kitchen workers, students and faculty users.  This enhances the teaching process by having all university personnel aware that their food and paper waste is not garbage to be disposed of in a landfill but it is a valuable organic material that can enhance the campus landscaping.

The university administration and school boards can reduce the cost of waste disposal and the cost of chemical fertilizers in their annual budgets.  Waste disposal costs are continuing to increase due to the increased cost of fuel to transport the waste to a landfill or an incinerator.  Landfill space is becoming very scarce close to metropolitan areas, increasing the tipping fees that are the largest part of waste disposal fees.  Landfills will eventually have to be closed down and mined when the plastic liners deteriorate.  That will place the burden and cost on our children and grandchildren who did not create the landfills.

Universities and schools that provide separate containers for organic waste in their food operations can combine that with their paper waste that is shredded and their yard waste that is chipped or ground.  Depending on the volume of each of those components, a recipe is determined that is fed into an in-vessel aerobic composter that is sized to handle the total volume of organic material that is produced per day at the university or school.  The in-vessel aerobic composter requires no outside source of heat such as an oil-fired, gas-fired or electric heat chamber.  The aerobic process generates sufficient heat for the three-day composting process.  Whatever volume of material in cubic yards is fed into the in-vessel aerobic composter results in a continuous flow in three days time producing a finished compost. With daily collection of food waste and mixing it into a recipe for daily composting, there will be no odor problem. For the largest models of in-vessel aerobic composters, 220 volt electric power is required to slowly turn the composter.  Smaller units only require 110 volt electric power.

As the compost exits the composter, it can be deposited into a trailer bed that can then be used to distribute the compost to large expanses of grass and landscaping on the campus.  This eliminates the need to purchase costly commercial fertilizers, some of which leach into the surface and subsurface waters.  The savings can readily be evaluated by the university or school in reducing the solid waste disposal costs and fertilizer costs.  By recycling the plastics, metals and glass on the campus, there will be no waste products from the university or school going to landfills or incinerators.  This is recycling at its very best.

This composting organics on-site and reuse on-site is an educational process that needs to be incorporated into an environmentally attuned university and school educational program.  The future leaders of our country in the professional, corporate, educational, political and business world must be made aware that, while they are receiving their various degrees, we must adopt new and better habits to protect and enhance our sensitive environment.  This can be carried over into their homes, their businesses, their professions and to their political priorities that will benefit and sustain our environment for the quality of life that must be preserved for future generations.

The cost of the in-vessel aerobic composting equipment can be recouped in only two to three years, depending on the volume of material to be composted.  Large savings will continue year after year.  The in-vessel aerobic composter operation will require one person three to four hours per day.  The compost cycle can be adjusted to the volume of organics available per day by adding only the amount that is available.


Much like the universities, large resorts produce large volumes of food waste, paper waste and yard waste.    Reducing operating costs today in any business is essential to remaining profitable.  Waste disposal costs are a major operating factor for most resorts.  In the Florida Keys , the disposal costs are especially high since all waste must be transported long distances to landfills or incinerators.  The Florida Keys resorts are faced with this additional problem in the restrictions placed on them due to the extremely environmentally sensitive area in which they operate.

The Florida Keys resorts, by composting the resort’s food waste, paper waste and yard waste, plus the seaweed that is constantly washing up on their beaches, will be producing a valuable soil amendment that can be used on their landscaping instead of commercial fertilizers.  Most of the public that frequents the Florida Keys resorts are there to enjoy the special environment and all it offers them.  By advertising that the resort is protecting the local environment by recycling all of its solid waste materials, the public will be favorably impressed.

Large resorts all over the country, some with one or more golf courses, can similarly incorporate the composting on-site and reuse on-site program with the in-vessel aerobic composter.   After the two to three year pay-back period, the savings will continue on and on.


Dairy farms, hog farms, chicken farms, horse farms and metropolitan zoos can all benefit from the in-vessel aerobic composting of their animal manures, animal carcasses and yard wastes.  The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has already notified many of these operations that they must no longer dispose of the manure on their fields where the phosphorous runoff is contaminating nearby surface and subsurface waters.

In the case of dairy farms, there is also a restriction from hauling the untreated cow manure over local roads to a disposal site.  The cow manure must be treated on-site.  The in-vessel aerobic composting process is the perfect answer to this problem.  As the cow manure is fed into the in-vessel aerobic composter, it exits in only three days as a Class A compost that is approved by EPA and Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) for use on row crops, groves, nurseries and landscaping.  The resulting compost is much like peat moss and is highly desirable for agricultural use at a much lower cost than commercial fertilizers.   This can be marketed at $35/ton delivered in bulk tractor-trailer loads.

Zoos have large volumes of animal manures to dispose of on a daily basis.  Most zoos also have large landscaped areas where yard waste can be collected and included in the compost recipe. The finished compost can then be reused on the grounds instead of commercial fertilizers.  If there is a food operation at the zoo for the public, separate containers for organic food waste and paper plus recycling containers for plastic, metal and glass can provide additional organic material to add to the recipe to be composted.  Here, again, there can be huge dollar savings in disposal costs and commercial fertilizer costs.

Yes, animal carcasses can be composted in this remarkable in-vessel aerobic composter. This is currently being done successfully on hog farms and chicken farms in the United States .   The carcasses and chicken litter can be combined with the manures and yard wastes to provide a very marketable compost for use on grazing fields or sold to farmers, nurseries and landscapers.


Every municipal wastewater residual plant (sewage plant) produces either Class B sludge or Class A sludge or both.  Class B sludge has not been composted. The harmful pathogens have not been destroyed. In Florida , Class B sludge requires a very extensive and exact land application plan to be followed and documented to prevent excessive amounts from being applied to an area.  This Class B sludge is not acceptable for land application everywhere and the EPA should restrict its use.  Most of the Class B sludge now goes to a landfill, either locally or to one at a considerable distance from the plant.  Landfill space in Florida is becoming scarce.  The leachate from landfills will eventually become a pollutant to the Aquifer as the plastic liners deteriorate, leaving the problem for our children to pay for and resolve.

Class A sludge has been composted and all harmful pathogens have been removed by the heat process of composting.  Many wastewater residual plants, including those in Miami-Dade County , Broward County and Palm Beach County are still using the compost pile method of composting that requires aeration and approximately three weeks to reach the sustained heat necessary to remove all harmful pathogens.  There is considerable odor with this process plus the outdoor compost piles cannot be sustained during the wet weather months from May through November.

Wastewater Residual Plants are another great opportunity for the in-vessel aerobic composter to be put into operation to produce Class A compost 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.  One or two large in-vessel aerobic composters can produce Class A sludge that is a very valuable soil amendment eagerly sought after by all agricultural and landscaping interests.  With the Chinese buying up large quantities of nitrogen fertilizer in the United States , the cost has skyrocketed for local farmers.  In many areas, nitrogen fertilizer is no longer available.  It is therefore extremely important to produce as much Class A sludge as possible to maintain a supply of this rich soil amendment for local agriculture to survive in this very competitive market.

The Florida Keys communities have been notified to replace all septic tank installations with acceptable wastewater residual plants.  From Key West to the Upper Keys, new wastewater residual plants are being planned or under construction.  Some plans call for hauling the solid waste produced at the plants to the South Miami-Dade County Landfill.  This will require a long distance, costly haul plus a tipping fee of $52/ton.  There is also the possibility of endangering the sensitive Keys environment should a truckload of sewage solids be involved in an accident on the Overseas Highway with spillage of untreated sewage solids.

By incorporating an in-vessel aerobic composter into the new wastewater residual plants in the Florida Keys Communities, the local sewage solids as well as paper and yard waste can be composted and reused on the poor Florida Keys soil instead of applying commercial chemical fertilizers.  This will save the long and costly hauling, the tipping fee of $52/ton and enhance the local environment with Class A compost that can be safely applied to local landscaping.


The mission of the SDSWCD, To provide local leadership in implementing conservation programs and technology that facilitate enhancement, sustainment and stewardship of our natural resources and environment, is your assurance that the conservation program recommended for your operation will beneficially enhance your ability to reduce the solid waste stream that adversely affects our environment.   The SDSWCD is not a regulatory agency.  It is an educational agency that encourages the public to pursue their work and living habits in an environmentally beneficial manner.    Check out our website for water conservation and water quality measures and our record of achievements.

We look forward to working with you.  Call the SDSWCD at (305) 242-1288

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