Alexander Tsarev
Mushroom industry

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Recycled Water

Recycled water owes its name to the method of its use in the compost house. The water supply system at compost preparation works in a closed loop. Water from a container is taken to either to wet the straw, or humidify the compost at mixing. Most of the water is absorbed by the compost mass and the remains flow back into the container. If the container is installed below the floor’s surface, the water self-flows, if above — the water is moved from a pit by a pump.

That is, the water is sent into the compost house in a free form, and comes out being one of the compost’s contents. Recycled water contains nitrogen and specific microorganism populations, which take part in the composting process. Due to this, the use of recycled water noticeably accelerates the composting process in comparison of the use of fresh water.

Recycled water aeration

Containers for recycled water dug into the ground
In addition to above mentioned parameters of recycled water’s quality — nitrogen concentration and microorganism content, something else should be mentioned also. It concerns pH, the acidity indicator. Good recycled water must have an alkaline reaction. The point is that there’s a wax deposit on the fresh straw’s surface, which repels water. When the alkaline reaction happens, this deposit dissolves and the straw actively absorbs moisture. This makes possible the humidification of straw while filling the compost with a concurrent application of poultry manure.

Listed below are a few advices on the preparation and use of recycled water.

First — the reservoir’s volume must be determined, there must be enough recycled water to wet a batch of straw at filling the compost. In addition to that, there must be enough recycled water left in the container after stowing, in order to support the necessary microorganism populations. In practice, the calculations made are based on the need of one ton of wetted straw for four cubic meters of water. It’s usually enough for wetting and the necessary remains.

A pit for cleaning and aerating of recycled water

A pit for cleaning and aerating of recycled water
Next we carry the concentration of nitrogen in the recycled water to 0.1-0.3%. Nitrogen contained in the recycled water plays a very important part in the 1st phase of composting, especially in its very beginning. Moreover, with the concentration of nitrogen in the recycled water, the negative consequences of using poultry manure with a low content of nitrogen are reduced. Ammonium nitrate or ammonium carbamide are used for this purpose. Depending on the chosen mineral fertilizer calculations are made of how many kilograms of this fertilizer must be dissolved in one cubic meter of water to obtain the required concentration of nitrogen. Then, all this is evaluated in the whole volume of the reservoir. This procedure should be carried out at every addition of fresh water to the reservoir. It is convenient to have the ability to measure the amount of water, which was absorbed by the straw at filling the compost, or by the compost itself while being mixed. It is usually done with the help of a meter-stick, which is lowered into the reservoir before and after filling. The data is recorded in a special journal and help in solving problems with the compost that occurred in phase 1.

In addition to nitrogen, good recycled water contains specific groups of microorganisms. Usually, after a few fillings, there are enough of them in the water. At first filling, an amount of poultry manure should be dissolved in the recycled water to increase the breeding of these organisms. For this reason, it’s undesirable to use the whole volume of water without any remains.

Recycled water aeration

Recycled water aeration
In order to maintain the recycled water in good condition, it should be aerated. Recycled water must be aerated so that no anaerobic processes occur in it, which are evident through a rather objectionable odor and a low pH level. The choice of a method of aeration, its duration and intensity is determined individually in each case, depending on specific abilities of the farm. Recycled water of a good quality is brown in color, relatively transparent and has a slight smell of ammonia.


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