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October 15, 2020

City Issues Yard Waste Compost Advisory

Nearly 4200 tons of yard waste compost has been sold to the public thus far in 2020. Nearly 4200 tons of yard waste compost has been sold to the public thus far in 2020. (City Photo/Darrell Shoemaker)


Herbicides discovered

in facility's yard waste compost

RAPID CITY, SD--The City's Solid Waste Division is issuing a Yard Waste Compost Advisory beginning this week for anyone purchasing compost from the Rapid City Solid Waste Facility after recent tests indicated the presence of herbicides in the material.

            Recent tests detected the presence of Clopyralid, MCPP and Quinclorac in the facility's yard waste compost material.  One of the detected herbicides, Clopyralid (pronounced clo-PEER-a-lid) is a persistent herbicide, meaning the herbicide does not break down into inert substances quickly.

            As part of the advisory, the Solid Waste Division is alerting customers to not use compost products where broad leaf plants, such as common garden plants, ornamental plants and flowers, will be grown. These herbicides are not known to be harmful to turf grass or lawns.

            Solid Waste officials indicate the herbicides likely arrived at the Solid Waste Facility in the feed stock for the yard waste compost.  Yard waste compost feed stock consists of yard waste such as leaves, branches, grass, etc. and other organic material brought to the facility for processing.

            The Solid Waste Division is currently conducting additional extensive testing of all compost products and feed stocks to identify where the herbicides may have entered the composting process.

            "There had been no previous indication these herbicides were in our compost.  One of our customers inquired with us if the compost contained any herbicides so we decided to have the material tested and it tested positive," said Assistant City Public Works Director Dan Coon.  

            Coon said a Brookings lab tested the material and City officials received the results early last week.

            "We suspended compost sales upon receipt of the positive results early last week," Coon said.  "We are going to resume compost sales while alerting the public of the presence of herbicides in the compost material and as we continue to do further testing and investigation."

            For decades, the City's Solid Waste facility has sold yard waste compost to the general public for turf (lawn) applications and for gardens.  Yard waste including grass clippings, tree branches and other materials are brought to the Solid Waste Facility by the public or dropped off at remote yard waste sites at Floyd Fitzgerald Stadium and W. Boulevard North.

            Visitors wishing to purchase yard waste compost will be provided with a flyer and instructed verbally by Solid Waste Division staff of the herbicide content in the compost.  The flyers provide information and common questions the public may have regarding the issue. The information will also be placed on the Solid Waste Division page at the City's website .

            Solid Waste officials encourage the public to visit the division website or to contact 355-3496 with additional questions.