October 2022 - MABA Member Spotlight 

featuring Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment

Borough of Mechanicsburg Class A compost produces savings

Compost being loaded for a bulk customer. (courtesy of Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment)

The Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment Plant located in south central Pennsylvania has a 3 mgd system servicing an average of 700,000 gallons daily, and serves a population of around 14,000, and until 2012 the facility produced a Class B biosolids product, and faced increasing landfill costs.  

Through a partnership with Material Matters, and the use of the adjacent public yard waste site run by Silver Spring Township and Mechanicsburg, the waste management team was able to create a symbiotic composting solution.  The biosolids, having gone through primary and secondary treatment, as well as dewatering, is combined with a woody mix and “overs” with the use of a Roto-Mix truck.  This mix is then formed into compost piles and stored in a nearby hoop barn.  To kill pathogens, the temperature in the compost piles is kept above 131 degrees for 4 days, and above 113 degrees for 14 days to reduce how many vectors the compost attracts. The compost is then stored for an additional two weeks to further cure.


Noelle Bennese of Material Matters and Curtis Huey of Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment pose in front of their Class A compost.
(Courtesy of Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment)


Curtis Huey, superintendent, who has been with the facility for seven years says that the operations there are largely simple and efficient, save for the occasional equipment repair as needed.  The treatment plant team consists of 8 full-time employees, 4 operators, including one lab-tech, and 4 general laborers. 

“The investment (for the composting system) is worthwhile,” says Huey, “Although, I think it’s best to partner with a consultant when you’re setting up the operation.”

The Roto-Mix truck pours the mixed compost into piles in the hoop barn. 
(Courtesy of Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment)

The finished compost material, dubbed “Waste-No-More” through a community naming contest, is sold to the public for $10/cubic yard, with bulk buyers getting a discounted price.  Huey says the facility produces approximately 600 cubic yards of the compost annually. And each year, the product is reintroduced to the citizens via free samples at the annual Earth Day celebration on the town square.  

Huey says the borough has recently applied to become PennDOT certified with the primary objective of obtaining more bulk buyers. That being said, the economic success is already being actively experienced by the plant.  Huey says the spending on disposal of biosolids has been cut in half since the implementation of the composting system. 

For additional information, contact Curtis Huey,  Mechanicsburg Wastewater Treatment, plant superintendent, at (717) 691-3320 Ext 2, or [email protected]