Sample Extraction

Imperial Compost processes our compost in compliance with Title 14 CCR, Division 7, Chapter 3.1.

The County of Imperial has a facility registered permit (facility no. 13-AA-0095) issued to our site and is managed by Imperial County Environmental Health Department with regular inspections of our facility.

The primary material that Imperial Compost uses is steer manure.

Each lot of compost is less than or equal to 5,000 cu. yds. of material and is sampled using the 12 point sampling method as prescribed by the "Commodity Specific Safety Guidelines for the Production and Harvest of Lettuce and Leafy Greens", dated October 16, 2007. For added safety, Imperial Compost utilized a 15 point sampling method.

The fifteen samples are extracted from within compost pile as follows:

a)  Five samples from one half the width of the pile, each at a different cross-section.
b)  Five samples from one-fourth the width of the pile, each at a different cross-section.
c)  Five samples from one-eighth the width of the pile, each at a different cross-section.

To ensure that there is no contamination from the raw manure, Imperial Compost maintains separate loaders and trailers to move and service the compost operation. The only equipment that is used in both operations is the compost turner. After each use, in piles or windrows that have not been completed or finished with the fifteen day pathogen reduction requirement, the compost turner is washed and checked to be sure of no foreign material. At that point a chlorine solution is sprayed on the agitator or turning apparatus used in the compost turning. This is done to prevent any transfer of pathogens that may have been present.

Imperial Compost uses a windrow compost process. Active compost is maintained under aerobic conditions at a temperatue of 55 degrees Celsius or 131 degrees Fahrenheit or higher for a minimum or 15 days or longer for pathogen reduction. During this period when the compost is maintained at 55 degrees Celsius or higher, there are a minimum of 5 turnings of the windrow.

After compost is processed through pathogen reduction, the fifteen samples are extracted to be sent to a certified lab for:

a)  Fecal coli forms: negative MPN/gram. The method or procedure is TMECC7.01B. Plus confirmation contained in EPA 1682.
b)  Salmonella: negative per sample size. The method or procedure is EPA 1682.
c)  EHEC 0157:H7 -- negative per sample size. The method or procedure is AOAC 996.09.
d)  Primary, secondary & trace fertilizer. Standard dry and wet test to determine these values.
e)  EHEC. The method or procedure is SM 9221-B and SMB 9221-E.