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Lehigh University logo
Lehigh University logo

Campbell Weyland and Wenxin Ye

Development of Nutrient-Rich Crystals from Wastewater for the Fortification of Compost

Departments: Environmental Science, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Advisor: Arthur Kney

Abstract:
Improved management of nitrogen and phosphorus in municipal solid waste (MSW) compost could help in providing a sustainable alternative to industrially soil amendments for gardening and agricultural practices.  However, limited research considers nutrient enrichment of municipal solid waste (MSW) composting.  Edaphologists concern themselves with the loss of nutrients in enriched soil throughout the anaerobic and aerobic processes involved in the maturation of the compost, therefore a considerable body of knowledge is available about the composting process.  This research considers opportunities to add value to MSW compost while building on lessons of soil scientists.  Our goal is to engineer a technique to maximize nutrient value of nitrogen as well as phosphorus in the compost.  This study first focuses on our planned fortification process which consists of mixing enriched crystals into MSW compost.  The crystals will be comprised of recycled nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorous) from local wastewater made available by wastewater treatment plants.  We plan to present an overview of how we grow our enriched crystals, initial growth tests, and our compost enrichment process.  We also plan to present a community compost engagement plan, one which ties science, engineering and entrepreneurial thinking together.

About Campbell Weyland:
Campbell Weyland is a junior at Lafayette College, pursuing a degree in Environmental Science, with a concentration in Alternative Energy. Hr spent the past summer and fall semesters working with two other students on the compost enrichment project on field work and lab test, under the supervision of Professor Arthur Kney from Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Outside of research, Campbell plays on the men's soccer team at Lafayette and serves as a board member for a local nonprofit named Athlete's Care.

About Wenxin Ye:
Cathy (Wenxin) Ye is a junior at Lafayette College, pursuing a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering, with a concentration in Environmental Engineering. She spent the past fall semester working with two other students on the compost enrichment project on field work and lab test, under the supervision of Professor Arthur Kney from Civil and Environmental Engineering Department. Outside of research, Cathy is the Community Outreach Chair of the Society of Environmental Engineers and Scientist at Lafayette.