Sustainability for the Community

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Lead in Norwood’s Compost?

This week, the Boston Globe printed an article stating that the Boston City compost showed a high level of lead. In response to inquiries about Norwood Compost, the following announcement was sent out by our Department of Public Works:

A recent Boston Globe article revealed that the compost created at the City of Boston compost site has very high concentrations of lead. This can be attributed to many factors, mainly a facility that allowed the dumping of materials other than leaves and grass. This includes soil from dilapidated homes, contaminated with lead paint.

Norwood does not have that problem. Norwood’s compost pile is closely supervised and contains only leaves and grass–there is no soil mixed in.

Norwood’s compost is considered of high quality, and it is tested. The quality is so good that we sell excess material to a firm that markets the compost to nurseries and other high-end users who demand safe, quality material.

So, what are the results for lead in Norwood’s compost? Below is a comparison of Norwood’s compost to industry guidelines.

Federal Safety Limit 400 parts per million
State Safety Limit 300 parts per million
European Union Safety Limit 150 parts per million
Recommended Compost Range 0 – 25 parts per million
(City of Boston Compost, 2012, 260 parts per million)

Norwood Compost (June 4, 2012)  0.3 parts per million

As you can see, Norwood’s compost has a lead content that is negligible.   Mark Ryan, Director of Public Works/Town Engineer

Category: Health