Composting of Roadkill

This project was conducted for the Cornell Waste Management Institute (CWMI) (Department of Crop and Soil Sciences) for which I work under the direction of Dr. Ellen Harrison, the Institute's Director.

Improving the management of the more than 25,000 deer carcasses that the NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) must dispose of each year from state roads alone led to this NYSDOT-funded project to investigate static pile composting. Monitoring has been initiated for an array of pathogens in 4 locations around NYS where compost piles have been established investigating pathogen reduction.

My part of the project involves looking at worker health and safety questions. I review the bacteria, fungi, viruses, prions, protozoa (parasites), worms, and arthropods (insects, arachnids) to which exposure would occur during collection of the carcasses, transport, and set-up of or addition to the compost pile. I reviewed the biosafety levels, then made recommendations as to work practices, engineering controls, and personal protective equipment which would be appropriate.

I gave a presentation on this project at the National Carcass Disposal Symposium in Beltsville, MD, December 2006.