Biosolids SPOTLIGHT: A focus on the people of biosolids who work in our region

November 2022 - MABA Member Spotlight 

featuring McGill Environmental Systems

McGill Environmental Systems specializes in manufacturing premium compost, soil, and mulch products through the processing and recycling of residuals from municipal, industrial and agribusiness sources. We also design, build, and operate state-of-the-art indoor facilities — either McGill-owned or customer-owned. All McGill operations provide reliable, weather-independent production year-round. 

McGill has a well-established customer base in bulk sales to the landscaping, construction, and erosion-control industries, as well as bulk and bagged sales to soil products retailers. Our product line includes mulches, composts and compost-based mixes and blends, including enriched topsoil and compost formulated for conventional agriculture.


McGill Operated Facilities


McGill Highlights 

  • 200+ Employees
  • 500,000 tons per year composted
  • 5 McGill Owned and Operated Facilities
  • 2 Facilities McGill Operates for public/private entities
  • 1,000,000+ cubic yards of products sold annually
  • 300,000+ tons of greenhouse gases avoided each year through diversion
  • 70,000+ tons of carbon sequestered yearly through our composted soil amendments 

McGill Merry Oaks Facility

McGill Merry Oaks 

The McGill Regional Composting Facility at Merry Oaks, opened in 2002, is located about 30 minutes south of Raleigh. With over 110,000 square feet of enclosed operational area, the McGill team processes over 100,000 tons of organics annually. 

Merry Oaks Facility Facts


McGill utilizes a proprietary modification of the aerated static pile composting process that has served as the scientific standard for the industry since it was developed at Rutgers University. Computerized-control of the air delivery and extraction system optimizes composting conditions by maintaining ideal temperatures for the specific microbes responsible for biodegradation.

McGill accepts and processes residuals from municipal, industrial and agribusiness generators. All feedstocks must be pre-approved to meet regulatory and internal acceptance protocols. 

Compost Products

McGill’s line of branded Premium Compost products includes McGill SoilBuilder, McGill SportsTurf, McGill LandscapeMix, McGill ErosionControl and McGill AG. Each has been developed to meet the needs of specific professional markets. We have over 50 authorized resellers in the Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states, including landscape supply yards, landscape contractors and erosion control companies. McGill is a proud participant of the US Composting Council’s Seal of Testing Assurance program, which dictates product quality standards and testing requirements.

For additional information, contact Katie Sullivan, McGill Environmental Systems at [email protected]



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]



September 2022 - MABA Member Spotlight featuring Denali

Biosolids compost: clean, green and in high demand

High-quality product from Denali’s Burlington County facility routinely sells out

Agitators keep materials well mixed at the composting facility. (courtesy of Denali)

Past a mountainous landfill and down a tree-lined road, Burlington County’s co-composting facility is largely quiet. But, for a first-time visitor, stepping inside the warehouse-size building is sensory overload: the air is steamy and rich with ammonia, there are few lights except on the massive machines churning a mix of woodchips and biosolids, and the backup sirens blare as front-end loaders add material to concrete bays.

The result of this interplay between man, machine and decomposing microbes stands in a tall pile at an adjacent building: compost. Each year, the Burlington County facility creates 50,000 cubic yards of the stuff. That’s enough compost to cover a football field with a heap 20 feet high.

Despite the massive amount, Ryan Cerrato has no trouble selling it. Cerrato is the Vice President of Product Marketing at Denali, an organic waste management company. Denali’s motto is “waste should not be wasted.”

“We sell to large and small construction projects, specialty soil blenders, school and institutional grounds departments, and landscaping contractors anywhere a soil amendment is needed,” Cerrato said. “The list is endless.”

The county has a reliable outlet for its biosolids a term for material recovered in the treatment of wastewater and the local government sees the resource beneficially used in its region. It’s a win-win for Burlington County.



A trommel screen sifts composted material at the Burlington County facility. (Courtesy of Denali)


The consistent, high-quality material made by Denali is a Class A product, under federal environmental regulations, meaning it meets stringent federal guidelines for safety. High temperatures in the composting process destroy whatever pathogens may have been in the biosolids And, because compost is a stable form of organic material, it locks up carbon and plant nutrients that slowly break down when compost is mixed with soil. 

Compost processes like this one are one way in which cities and counties in New Jersey and the Mid-Atlantic region recycle their communities’ nutrients. Regulations in the 1970s and 80s brought an end to ocean dumping, which had been the primary means of biosolids disposal for the region. New Jersey went further and banned the placement of biosolids in landfills in 1985.

Meanwhile, people continued to flush their toilets, and local governments needed to find new outlets for their waste. Fortunately, science began to show composting was an effective way to turn biosolids into a safe, useful product. Governments began building enclosed composting facilities like Burlington County’s, where the compost is closely monitored.

“Because it contains biosolids, it is one of the most tested compost products in the world,” Cerrato said.

An added benefit to making compost indoors is a cleaner, more consistent material. There’s no debris blowing around to contaminate the product, and there are no rainy days or dry spells inside the building, Cerrato said. The product, therefore, is uncontaminated and is the same from year to year. Customers know they are purchasing the same quality compost every time, he said.

“It’s become a homerun with our customer base,” Cerrato said.

For additional information, contact Stefan Weaver, Senior Environmental Manager, Denali, at 717-990-9496 or [email protected].


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