Vermicomposting Information
Availability - Project Summary -


(1) Provide better structure, increase aerobic conditions and suppress disease.

(2) It is a biological process and unlike chemicals, will not be a quick fix, but a long lasting solution.

(3) Modest application can provide good benefits; apply as directed on the user instruction sheet provided with the product.

(4) Will provide a sustainable and beneficial organism population, which in time will properly colonize the soil.

(5) After a couple of applications the reduction of chemical usage will slowly be decreased to a minimal application.

(6) Will provide a biological healthy soil, allowing the good microbic bacteria and fungi to produce a better plant structure.

(7) Allows the plants to develop a heavy root structure and permits the nutrients to be absorbed by the plant.

(8) Last, but not least, it is totally all natural, saving the environment from additional pollutants.

This product is totally all natural and will be available in April 2006.


Call for more information and pricing of this product at (717-242-1838)

Between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm Monday Thru Fridays except holidays


** information provided by Larry E. Craig, Granville Township Sewer & Water



Owner: Granville Township, Mifflin County

Project: Large scale vermiculture of wastewater biosolids

About Granville Township:

Granville Township is a Second Class Township in a rural setting, providing service to a population of 4,895.

The Township has two wastewater treatment facilities, which also service neighboring municipalities of Oliver Township and Juniata Terrace Borough, thereby serving three individual communities. There are 30 miles of sewers and seven pumping stations.

As little as twenty years ago, Granville had no sewerage or treatment at all. The Supervisors and management of the Township are proud of their record and commitment to stewardship and protection of the environment.

This progress has been made despite the Township having many homeowners who are on fixed income. The Per Capita income for residents in Granville Township base on 2000 census is $16,807, which is $4,073 below the state average.

Characteristics of the Project:

Biosolids are the solids by-product of wastewater treatment. They are widely accepted as offering a valuable potential source of all natural nutrient and soil building properties, although much of this material is also disposed of to landfill.

Traditionally, Granville has sent its wastewater biosolids to the landfill. Up to 25% of Pennsylvania’s biosolids are disposed of in this way. This is a waste of potential valuable resource.

When it was announced in 2000 that the Mifflin County landfill was closing, Granville looked around for a new solution that would enable the biosolids to be recycled for beneficial use.

The Township researched a number of options (including trucking to a distant landfill) and decided to pursue an option involving large-scale vermiculture.

This innovative technology, in which the waste is fed to earthworms housed in large beds, is new to biosolids treatment in the USA and offered the best mix of environmental, recycling and financial outcomes for the Township.

Objectives of the Project

The objectives of the project were:

To find a recycling alternative that could make use of this potential resource instead of using it to fill up landfills.

To recycle local waste streams for local benefit by transforming waste into a "value-added", attractive end product that can be used to improve soil, turf and crops for local farms and businesses.

To use a technology that operates with a low environmental impact and does not expend natural resources and make noise or dust or odor

To be first in the USA with an innovative technology that will one day be commonplace across the country

To benefit the education and co-operation of the Community by having a facility that can be visited by schoolchildren and college students wishing to learn about environmental recycling

To foster unity among a number of government agencies (such as DEP, who played a major role), politicians, legislators, private companies and members of the community united in a common goal to try and make a real difference to the environment

To seek a cost effective solution that would offer the chance to sell the end product. Since there is no such thing as "green charity", the project would have to make economic sense in its own right.

Benefits and Outstanding Attributes

The facility, which will treat all of the Township’s biosolids will convert the biosolids into environmentally safe and aesthetically pleasing end product which the Township is selling for up to $100 per ton. The facility met the requirements for permitting as producing an Exceptional Quality (Class A) biosolids product under DEP regulation permit issues February 23rd 2005. To date approximately 20 tons were produced and sold to commercial establishment as soil amendment to poor or none productive soils.

Financially, the facility is comparable in direct costs with other technology options. Taking the long-term view, the Township is fully expecting that the treatment costs will be offset by the sale of end product, potentially capping and minimizing biosolids management costs on a permanent basis. It will also create employment opportunities for present and future generations.

The environmental benefits are as follows

The process accepts 100% of the Township biosolids, eliminating the possibility of it from ever causing pollution elsewhere.

Since the worms require no energy to do their work, the process reduces energy consumption over other methods by up to 80%.

University research has shown the process reduces greenhouse gas emissions by up to 45% over landfill practices.

The facility produces absolutely minimal odor, dust, noise or leachate.

The process reduces the volume of material by 40% from input to outputs.

Public Interest

Up to 25% of biosolids in the State are sent to landfill where they occupy space and add to greenhouse gas emissions.

Waste streams are generated at a local level. In transporting to a landfill, the waste is carried over long distances, increasing traffic on the roads, using fuel, energy and creating an unsafe environmental condition.

At the same time, modern farming techniques put increasing pressure on the land and soil health. Inorganic fertilizers add little back to the soil in terms of soil vitality and beneficial microbes and their long-term use has had negative effects on groundwater quality.

So, by treating and re-using a local waste stream, this facility presents, in its own right, an opportunity to make a difference to the long-term public interest and to the environment.

However, more importantly, this project will act as an example of how local solutions can be created for local problems.

Although industrialized, the process involves worms which "mimic" what is happening everyday in nature, in the forests and fields, as part of a natural cycle. These types of natural, low-tech and low-impact solutions offer important long-term options for the community.

More specifically, residents of Granville will have their biosolids treated and recycled and the costs of doing so will be partly offset by sales of end-product. The intention of this facility is to reduce costs for the township permanently.

Community and Agency involvement

The project involved local businesses that were involved in the financing, delivery, building and installation of the facility. Although the process equipment was delivered from Australia, local engineers designed the facility and local contractors carried out most of the work. Employees of Granville Township were essential to the specific layout and design of the facility.

In order to keep costs down, all members of the Township staff, from the office to road crew picked up a spanner and joined in to help erect and install the equipment. Despite being held up by a long winter, the equipment was installed in record time and with no major hold ups. Since this was the first facility in the USA, this was quite an achievement. The Township Supervisors thank their team for their professionalism, strength and spirit.

The Township also enjoyed the support of DEP via grant funding from the "Growing Greener" program. DEP staff has also provided support and guidance for the Township in all parts of the process. The facility is intended to achieve permitting for EQ biosolids product in early 2005. This process is being conducted through a constructive and co-operative relationship that has been established with DEP officers.

As well as DEP, PennVest and other State agencies have also been critical in getting the project up and running and their support has been most valuable.

Community Education and support

The facility is currently in the final stages of being commissioned. Already though, students and teachers from local schools and college have taken keen interest, with their curriculum calling for projects about recycling and large-scale vermiculture. The process of education has begun…. Local organization has been tours of the facility along with power point presentation. Local schools requested the local government to attended classes with power point presentation to future educate grades 3rd thru 12 .

The Township has plans to offer educational visits to the facility and has the intention to link up with researchers and Penn State University to conduct further research to explore the benefits of the end product for local soils.

During recent "Open House" days, more than 250 citizens and members of other local municipalities have attended to see and hear about the innovative technology. Other visitors have included the Secretary of DEP, Senators, Congressman and Representatives.

Innovative Technology (please see attached literature)

In building this facility, Granville Township employed the services of Vermitech, an Australian company that has several years experience in treating biosolids using large-scale vermiculture.

Vermiculture is a natural and efficient method of processing waste using earthworms and on a small scale is very common in homes and schools. Large-scale vermiculture involves the use of hundreds of thousands of earthworms to process very large quantities of waste and convert it into high quality all natural soil amendment.

Essentially, all natural waste is fed to the top of the bed using a specialist piece of equipment, worms rise up to meet the material and in doing so, eat the waste and imbue it with a vast array of soil beneficial microbes and fungi. More material is regularly added to the top of the bed and processed "harvest" is taken from the bottom using another machine. The finished product is dried and screened to the desired size and is then, subject to DEP permitting, intended to be sold for high value into commercial turf and horticulture applications.

The technology is innovative in that it is the first of its type in the USA. Further, the technology uses very little energy and reduces waste volumes in a low impact and natural way. The process is robust and simple and in this regard it offers an exciting and innovative way to deal with all natural waste streams such as biosolids and manures.

Project Cost

Total project cost is estimated at around $1,200,000, including $478,000 in Growing Greener grant funds, over $100,000 in local funds and loan assistance from PennVest making up the difference.

The total estimated dollar savings per wet ton is approximately $35,000 annually, or approximately $16 per household per year.

With the sale of end product to local outlets, the Township expects to be able to permanently maintain low biosolids management costs. The product has been sold to commercial establishment such as golf courses, sod farmer, tree farmer and grape vineyards.

Larry E. Craig
Granville Twp. Sewer Manager

** information provided by Larry E. Craig, Granville Township Sewer & Water

Print additional information about treating biosolids and organic waste with earthworms.



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