Author(s): Dieter Strauch
The utilization of biowaste is an important factor for relief of the environment. But it should not be ignored that a variety of pathogens can be found in the raw material of biowaste. It is therefore necessary that by the composting technology the guarentee is given that these pathogens are inactivated during the composting process. The pathogens of importance in this respect belong to microbial groups of bacteria, fungi, viruses and parasites. The main role play salmonellas which reach the biowaste with kitchen waste of households, restaurants, canteens etc. Most of this material is of animal origin. The epidemiological importance of insufficiently treated food scraps and swill has been proved in Germany during the epizootic of European (Classical) Swine Fever in 1993/94. Since no sufficient experiences are available about the tenacity of viruses pathogenic for man and animals in the compos ted biowaste further investigations are necessary. But generally it can be said that the temperatures required for the inactivation of pathogens in compost which are stipulated in regulations of various countries do ensure that the health of humans and animals is not endangered when the compost facilities are operated in accordance with the relevant regulations. A further important factor of biowaste compo sting is the problem of occupational safety. The employees in composting plants are exposed to various harmful influences: dangerous substances, malodors, dust, microorganisms and their toxins, noise. Especially the problem of aerosolized microorganisms like Aspergillus fumigatus, other bacteria and viruses and their possible influence on the health of employees and of residents in the surroundings of composting plants are discussed. Recommendations are mentioned for a better outfit of workplaces to improve the protection of employees from microbial emissions. For the protection of the environment the use of biofilters for purification of waste air is recommended.