Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Science


Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Alan E. Kehew

Second Advisor

Dr. Michael Barcelona

Third Advisor

Dr. Duane Hampton

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


In the rush to find alternatives to landfilling of yard waste, federal and state agencies have identified composting as the main solution. There is therefore a need to address the possible environmental problems which could be associated with such composting operations. Compost may contain nutrients, organic acids, pesticides, and metals which could leach through soils to the ground water posing a potential contamination problem.

At the WMU Farms Site, two sites have been used for the composting of leaves by the City of Kalamazoo. The physical and chemical hydrogeology of these sites were characterized.

The results suggest that the presence of compost leachate produces reducing, anoxic conditions in infiltrating water and increases the dissolved concentration of metals such as Fe^+2 Results from geophysical testing, including self potential and resistivity, support the premise that there is ion-rich infiltrating water beneath the compost windrows and ion-rich ground water downgradient from the operation.