Thursday, May 28, 2020

NOAA Predicts an above-normal 2020 Hurricane Season

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center is forecasting an above normal 2020 hurricane season. They are predicting a likely range of 13 to 19 named storms with winds of 39 mph or higher. Of those forecast storms 6 to 10 could become hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher, including 3 to 6 major hurricanes (category 3, 4 or 5; with winds of 111 mph or higher). NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center, a division of the National Weather Service provides these forecasts with a 70% confidence level. In an average hurricane season in the Atlantic there are 12 named storms, of which 6 become hurricanes, including 3 major hurricanes.
from NOAA
  “NOAA’s analysis of current and seasonal atmospheric conditions reveals a recipe for an active Atlantic hurricane season this year,” said Neil Jacobs, Ph.D., acting NOAA administrator.“ Several climate factors have contributed to the strong likelihood for above-normal activity in the Atlantic this year. The El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are expected to either remain neutral or to trend toward La Nina, meaning there will not be an El Nino present to suppress hurricane activity. Also, warmer-than-average sea surface temperatures in the tropical Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, coupled with reduced vertical wind shear, weaker tropical Atlantic trade winds, and an enhanced west African monsoon all increase the likely intensity of the hurricane season.

The World Meteorological Organization has already published the list of names for this season’s storms. The official start of the Atlantic hurricane season is June 1 and runs through November 30. Though the first named storm of the season, Arthur, occurred in earlier in May and Bertha hit Florida earlier this week. 
from NOAA
Hurricane preparedness is critically important. Keep in mind, you may need to adjust any preparedness plans and actions based on the latest health and safety guidelines from the CDC for covid-19 and your local restrictions. Visit the National Hurricane Center’s website at throughout the season to stay current on any watches and warnings.

Northern VA Enters Phase One with Masks

On May 26th Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 63 effective at 12:oo am May29th 2020 requiring all Virginians over age 10 to wear a face covering over their mouth and nose when entering, exiting, traveling through, and spending time inside the settings listed below and as described and recommended by the CDC:
  • Personal care and personal grooming businesses 
  • All brick and mortar retail businesses
  • Food and beverage establishments
  • Entertainment or recreation businesses 
  • Train stations, bus stations, and intrastate public transportation
  • Any other indoor place shared by groups of people
  • State or local government buildings
The Virginia Department of Health shall have authority to enforce this Order so for the moment there will be no fines and no jail time. However, the Department of Health can close a business.
The requirement to wear a face covering does not apply to following:
  • While eating or drinking;
  • While exercising or using exercise equipment;
  • While unconscious, incapacitated
  • While seeking to communicate with the hearing impaired and for which the mouth needs to be visible;
  • When temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to secure government or medical services; and
In addition it was announced that Northern Virginia will enter Phase One of restriction easing on May 29th at 12:00 am. If you recall, on May 8th Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 61 effective at 12:00 a.m., May 15, 2020, easing certain restrictions imposed under Second Amended Executive Order 53 and Executive Order 55 (both Orders are now collectively referred to as Phase Zero). Executive Order 61 sets out the Commonwealth of Virginia’s path into Phase One.
With limits on distancing and occupancy and emphasis on recommended cleaning and disinfecting surfaces Phase One allows:
  • Restaurants, breweries, distilleries, wineries, and tasting rooms to operate take-out, and outdoor dining and beverage services at 50% of the lowest occupancy load.
  • Farmers markets may reopen
  • Most brick and mortar retail business may operate at 50% occupancy, provided such businesses comply with the Guidelines in the order.
  • Fitness centers, gymnasiums, recreation centers, sports facilities, and exercise facilities may reopen for outdoor activities only.
  • Beauty salons, barbershops, spas, massage centers, tanning salons, tattoo shops, and any other location where personal care or personal grooming services are performed may reopen at 50% capacity.
  • Religious services may take place with social distancing and at 50% capacity.
  • Entertainment venues remain closed and all social gathering of more than 10 people remains banned.
I am excited to get my hair cut and start to get my life back on schedule. You can read all the details in Executive Order 61 and Order 63 at these links.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Health of the Chesapeake Bay Looks Worse

from UMCES
Last week the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science released their 13th annual report card on the health of the Chesapeake Bay for 2019. Overall, Chesapeake Bay scored 44% in 2019. This is the lowest score and first C- since 2011 and pretty discouraging considering all the effort and money that has gone into the Watershed Implementation Plans to meet the goals of the Chesapeake Clean Water Blueprint. will ensure pollution reductions in the Chesapeake Bay by 2025 that was supposed to lead to the "fishable, swimmable" waters.

Although several indicators of bay health improved in 2019, they did not offset those that declined. Bay-wide, dissolved oxygen scored 83% in 2019, a decrease from 2018. Water clarity scored 10%, a slight decrease from last year’s 7%. The benthic community score sharply decreased from a 59% to a 38%. Total nitrogen scored 39%, a decline from last year’s 44%. Total phosphorus scored 76%, a slight increase from 2018. Chlorophyll a scored 26%, an increase from 22% in 2018. Aquatic grasses scored 35%, a decline from last year’s 39%.

from UMCES
Overall Chesapeake Bay Health Scores have been variable in the past and bounced around a bit. From 2015-2017 the, Chesapeake Bay Health Scores were in the high C range (53, 54, 54). At that time the consecutive scores contributed to an overall positive trajectory and it appeared that we were making progress. More time only served to show that the Health Index broke out of its historical range to the down side. This year they explain that the moderate and poor scores in 2019 were mainly due to above-average temperatures almost every month of the year. Warmer air temperatures means warmer waters, and the intense heat hurt aquatic grasses and benthic macroinvertebrates, and caused lower dissolved oxygen levels. The year before it was excessive rain and heavy storm events that caused the disappointing results. A changing climate seem to be impacting the performance of the Clean Water Blueprint. The next phase of the plan is supposed to account for changing climate.

This is the first year that they have scored the watershed, using five indicators of ecological and socioeconomic health. The University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science has incorporated new indicators for Chesapeake Bay health including some indicators of watershed health. Watershed health includes traditional ecosystem indicators, but also social, economic, and cultural indicators.
from UMCES
Overall, the Chesapeake Watershed scored 60%, a B-. There were four aquatic indicators and one societal indicator. Watershed-wide, total nitrogen scored 79%. Total phosphorus scored 61% and turbidity scored 68%. Stream benthic community scored 46%. One social indicator was included, the Social Index, which scored 60%. I have no idea why these scores were given.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Arlington Board Approves the Connection to Fairfax Water

At last week’s Arlington Board of Supervisors meeting the under the consent agenda the Board authorized the County Manager to execute the Agreement for Construction of Water Facilities and Emergency Use of Water with Fairfax County Water Authority, subject to legal review by the County Attorney.

Arlington obtains their water from the Washington Aqueduct, a federally owned and operated by the Army Corp of Engineers and dates back to 1853. The Aqueduct produces an average of 155 million gallons of water per day and sells that water to the District of Columbia (about 75% of the finished water), Arlington County, Virginia (about 15%), and the City of Falls Church, Virginia (10%). The Washington Aqueduct consists of the Dalecarlia Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant, the Georgetown Reservoir, and the McMillan Reservoir and Water Treatment Plant. The Washington Aqueduct draws water from the Potomac River and treats it to provide finished drinking water to the water distribution companies that buy water from them.

The maximum capacity of the Aqueduct is 320 million gallons of water per day much more than even the peak demand for drinking water and fire fighting for their customers. Water use peaked at an average of 180 million of gallons a day nearly 20 years ago, the system was expanded in the 1950’s anticipating serving Montgomery and Prince George counties, but the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) instead built what is today the WSSC's principal water supply facility, the Potomac River Filtration Plant in western Montgomery County to supply their needs. Despite the excess capacity, the water supply remains vulnerable to a chemical spill or other disruption in the Potomac River upstream from the Aqueduct’s intake.

This deal with Fairfax Water is an insurance policy. Fairfax Water has two water treatment plants. The Corbalis Water Treatment Plant, the newer of the two also draw water from the Potomac River. However, the older Griffith plant draws from the Occoquan Reservoir. Fairfax Water produces 160 million gallons of water per day from both the Corbalis plant and the Griffith plant, but the combined total capacity of both plants is 345 million gallons/day. In an emergency when intake from the Potomac River is not possible for an extended period of time this water main could supply water to Arlington and Falls Church balancing the use of the regions Reservoirs and water supply by the ICPRB.

There is already a half mile water main connecting Falls Church to the Fairfax Water system. This project would extend that by another three quarters of a mile to Arlington along North Powhatan Street for emergency use purposes. This project provides redundancy for Arlington County’s water supply in case of an emergency. Currently, its sole water supply is from the Washington Aqueduct. Fairfax Water estimates that the Powhatan Street Main Cost will equal $2,875,000. The Arlington County portion is 70%, currently estimated at $2,012,500. Fairfax Water will build, maintain and operate the water main.

The quality of the water being produced at Washington Aqueduct and Fairfax Water is excellent. It meets or exceeds all United States Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) standards and requirements. The water quality report release at the end of 2019 covers the sampling done during calendar year 2018. There were no violations of the U.S. EPA’s Safe Drinking Water Act and you can view the report here. The Aqueduct report can be viewed here.

Monday, May 18, 2020

Correlation found to Vitamin D Levels and Covid-19 Mortality

From a Northwestern News Release:

Northwestern University Engineering research team lead by Dr. Vadioum Backman conducted a statistical analysis of data from hospitals and clinics across China, France, Germany, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States. They found a correlation between low vitamin D levels and mortality rates.

Dr. Backman is the Walter Dill Scott Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Northwestern Engineering. Ali Daneshkhah, a postdoctoral research associate in Backman’s laboratory, is the paper’s first author.

Dr. Backman and his team were inspired to examine vitamin D levels after noticing unexplained differences in COVID-19 mortality rates from country to country. Though some hypothesized that differences in healthcare quality, age distributions in population, testing rates or different strains of the coronavirus might be responsible, Dr. Backman d did not believe any of those factors played a significant role.

The scientists noted that patients from countries with high COVID-19 mortality rates, such as Italy, Spain and the UK, had lower levels of vitamin D compared to patients in countries that were not as severely affected. The scientists assumed that vitamin D levels in COVID-19 patients follow the same distribution that the subjects in previous vitamin D studies had shown. The vitamin D levels of covid-19 patients were not measured.

By analyzing publicly available patient data from around the globe, Backman and his team discovered a strong correlation between population vitamin D levels and cytokine storm — a hyperinflammatory condition caused by an overactive immune system — as well as a correlation between vitamin D deficiency and mortality. “Cytokine storm can severely damage lungs and lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome and death in patients,” Dr. Ali Daneshkhah said. “This is what seems to kill a majority of COVID-19 patients, not the destruction of the lungs by the virus itself. It is the complications from the misdirected fire from the immune system.”

This may be where vitamin D plays a major role. Not only does vitamin D enhance our innate immune systems, it also prevents our immune systems from becoming dangerously overactive. This means that having healthy levels of vitamin D could protect patients against severe complications, including death, from COVID-19.

While vitamin D deficiency might play a role in mortality, this needs further study. The engineers hope their work will stimulate interest in the area. Dr. Backman was careful to point out that people should not take excessive doses of vitamin D, which might come with negative side effects. Much more research is needed to know how vitamin D could be used most effectively to protect against COVID-19 complications. The paper has not yet been peer reviewed, but can be read in its entirety at medRxiv.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Northern Virginia still Locked Down

On May 8th Governor Ralph Northam issued Executive Order 61 effective at 12:00 a.m., May 15, 2020, easing certain restrictions imposed under Second Amended Executive Order 53 and Executive Order 55 (both Orders are now collectively referred to as Phase Zero). Executive Order 61 sets out the Commonwealth of Virginia’s path into Phase One. I was excited to breath a little more freedom and expected to be able to get my hair cut and start to get my life back on schedule.

However, on May 9, 2020, Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chair, Ann Wheeler, along with Arlington, Fairfax, and Loudoun Board of Supervisors, and the Cities of Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church, Manassas, Manassas Park, as well as the Towns of Dumfries, Herndon, Leesburg, and Vienna (the total of the Northern Virginia Region) requested to remain in Phase Zero. They took this action because data showed that Northern Virginia still has substantially higher percentage of positive tests for COVID-19 than the rest of the Commonwealth. Northern Virginia has about a 25% positivity rate, while the rest of the Commonwealth is closer to 10%.

Accordingly, Governor Northam issued Executive Order 62 ordering all individuals in the  Northern Virginia Region to remain at their place of residence, except as provided below until 11:59 p.m., May 28, 2020. Hopefully, an additional two weeks will bring our number of cases in line with the rest of the Commonwealth. You've seen this all before, but just as a reminder...

Individuals may only leave their residences for the purpose of:

Obtaining food, beverages, goods.
Seeking medical attention, essential social services, governmental services, assistance from law enforcement, or emergency services;
Taking care of other individuals, animals, or visiting the home of a family member;
Traveling required by court order or to facilitate child custody, visitation, or child care;
Engaging in outdoor activity, including exercise, provided individuals comply with social distancing requirements;
Traveling to and from one’s residence, place of worship, or work;
Traveling to and from an educational institution;
Volunteering with organizations that provide charitable or social services; and
Leaving one’s residence due to a reasonable fear for health or safety, at the direction of law enforcement, or at the direction of another government agency.

As before essential retail businesses remain open in Northern Virginia.

I live in the northwest corner of Prince William where Loudoun County, Prince William and Fauquier County all converge. It seemed rather arbitrary to keep the restrictions by county line, but what do I really want to do anyway...Okay, we remain in Phase Zero hopefully, the additional two weeks will do the trick and lower the rate of infection.

Monday, May 11, 2020

USGS releases Map of where Pyrrhotite Occurs

Last week the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) released a map of where the mineral pyrrhotite naturally occurs in the continental United States. My first reaction was huh?!! According to the press release: “This project was a bit unusual for us, because typically we’re trying to help people find mineral deposits that they want, not minerals that they don’t want,” said USGS scientist Jeff Mauk, who led the project.

Pyrrhotite is related to the more common and well-known mineral pyrite, Fool’s Gold. They are both worthless. Pyrrhotite differs from pyrite because it has less sulfur and is far more reactive to water than pyrite. Pyrrhotite is known to be present in Great Brittan, France, the United States and Canada. It turns out where pyrrohitite is important-  to avoid using it as fill in cement mixtures. When pyrrhotite is exposed to water and oxygen, it breaks down to produce sulfuric acid and secondary minerals, including gypsum, which have larger volumes than the pyrrhotite they replace.

If pyrrhotite-bearing stone is crushed up and used as filler for the concrete it can break down over time to form secondary minerals that expand and crack concrete, causing concrete structures, like roads, bridges, aqueducts and home foundations, to fail. Thus, identifying where pyrrhotite may occur can help identify where there may be a risk of pyrrhotite being included in crushed stone production. The new national map shows that pyrrhotite may be distributed widely in metamorphic rock along the Appalachian Mountains and in smaller pockets in the western United States.

The phenomenon when concrete undergoes an increase in volume and subsequently cracking under long exposure to sulfate enriched solutions, was first discovered in the early days of the 20th century. An investigation of cement failures in 1914 involving the USDA, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and the American Portland Cement Manufactures Association found that Secondary mineral formation is strongly dependent on the availability of sulfate which can be either natural or manmade contaminants in ground water, moisture in soils and sulfate-rich acid rain. Sulfur dioxide from the combustion of fuel and the sulfate impurities of deicing salt have been found over the years to be sources of sulfur contamination and damage to concrete structures.

It wasn’t until the last part of the 20th century when it was discovered that concrete rich in iron sulfide were also subject to premature deterioration. Pyrite (FeS2) and pyrrhotite (Fe1-xS) are the most common iron sulfide compounds in nature.  The pyrrhotite was found to especially serve as an internal sources of sulfur for delayed mineral formation.. Oxidation of these sulfides over time in the presence of water and an oxidant (either oxygen or ferric ion) leads to the formation of cracking and ultimately the failure of the concrete.

Although sulfide containing aggregates induced premature deterioration of concrete, only a limited number of scientists were aware of this problem before the late 1990’s. However, as more damage appeared in highway and foundation deterioration interest in the problem increased. The first symposium on pyritic rock fills in concrete was held in May 1997 by the Montreal section of the Association of Engineering Geologists (AEG).

More recently, premature deterioration of concrete foundations were found in thousands of homes in eastern Connecticut and western Massachusetts. Pyrrhotite occurs in rocks in many areas of the United States. To help assess the national risk of pyrrhotite in aggregate, the 2019 appropriations bill for the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) allocated funds to develop this map (below) showing the distribution of pyrrhotite across the United States in hopes of preventing the inclusion in concrete and the devastating consequences to homeowners. Slow deterioration of concrete is not a covered event under homeowners insurance.

Last summer the Associated Press reported that” hundreds of suburban homeowners in a large swath of eastern Connecticut are getting help from the state to salvage properties.” The Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company, which is funded with $20 million a year for five years in state borrowing and an annual $12 fee on homeowners’ insurance policies is providing eligible homeowners up to $175,000 to repair their homes. The he work involves cutting back the driveway, disconnection and removing the furnace and plumbing hookups, then creating holes into the foundation walls so steel beams can be slid underneath the home. Then the house is jacked up using the steel frame. Workers then jack hammer away all the concrete, and a new foundation is poured. The grant from the Connecticut Foundation Solutions Indemnity Company often doesn’t cover the whole cost.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Arizona Rural Groundwater being Shipped Around the Globe

In 1980 Arizona passed a law regulating groundwater in Phoenix, Tucson, and other populated, mostly urban areas. The law left the rest of the state without limits to drilling for or pumping groundwater. Though there have been several attempts to expand the law, all have failed including the most recent attempt this past spring. Outside of active groundwater management areas or irrigation non-expansion areas anyone in Arizona can drill a well and use unlimited amounts of groundwater.

According to a 2019 investigation by the Arizona Republic, the water levels has dropped more than 100 feet in some rural areas including this one. “The Arizona Republic analyzed water-level data for more than 33,000 wells throughout Arizona. The investigation found the water levels in nearly one in four wells in Arizona’s groundwater monitoring program have dropped more than 100 feet since they were drilled, a loss that scientists and water experts say is likely irrecoverable.” Read the Arizona Republic’s excellent coverage of the building water crisis at this link.

The recent growth in groundwater pumping has been attributed to large industrial farms; many from out of state and out of country including the Saudi holdings. In 2014 alone the Saudi dairy Almarai bought 15 square miles of farmland in western Arizona in an unregulated groundwater area. In some of the communities in non-managed groundwater areas where it is no longer feasible for the homeowner with a private well to access water because the water table has fallen so far. Arizona has to a large extent ignored the problem because only about 20% of the state’s population has been impacted in any way, and many homeowners only know they have a problem when their well goes dry.

In this dessert location groundwater was laid down over millennia ago and is not being recharged in any significant way. This is the only water that many rural communities can count on as the Southwest becomes hotter and drier with climate change. In addition, Arizona faces its first-ever mandatory cuts in Colorado River water withdrawals this year under an agreement that will shrink the amount of water that’s available to replenish aquifers in urban areas. With climate change projected to make the southwest drier and put strains on water from rivers, the urban center will need to pump more groundwater.

Big farming companies owned by out-of-state investors and foreign agriculture giants have purchase farmland in areas where there is no limit on pumping. It is about growing food. The Saudi Arabians are one of the foreign entities pumping massive amounts of groundwater to grow wheat. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the largest country in the Arabian Peninsula and have overdrawn their own aquifer.

Saudi Arabia has no perennial rivers though seasonally some surface water flows in the south east where annual rainfall of almost a foot falls between October and March. They have groundwater systems, but those systems have no natural recharge; unless they are artificially recharged they have a limited life span.

In 1975 it was estimated that Saudi Arabia was using less than 500 billion gallons of water a year for irrigation and a similar amount of water for industry and domestic use. Then water consumption and use changed dramatically. Driven by a government policy in support of achieving food security Saudi Arabia began using groundwater sources for irrigation and growing wheat and grains in the dessert. By 1980 the artesian wells that had fed the oasis’s ran dry, and at its peak in 1999-2000 pumped almost 5 trillion gallons of water in a single year for agricultural irrigation exporting wheat to its neighbors.

The Saudis calculated their water reserves and realized that they had been sacrificing water security for food security and began a program to import food and farm in other countries, limit groundwater pumping and build desalination plants. The farming operations in Arizona desert are simply implementing the unsustainable groundwater use practices that threatened their water security at home to the United States. Arizona does not have coastal access to even consider desalination in the future.

It is not just the Saudis, I am singling them out because their actions are informed and egregious. Mankind uses a lot of water. According to a group of researchers in the Netherlands who have been studying, quantifying and mapping national water footprints since the beginning of this century, mankind uses 9,087 billion cubic meters of water each year. Most of the water use is for agricultural production an estimated 92% when utilization of rainwater is counted.

The water we use is our water footprint. When we think about our use of water, we think of our domestic use of water in our homes for drinking, food preparation, washing clothes and dishes, bathing , and flushing toilets, watering lawns and gardens or maintaining pools, ponds, hosing off patios and decks, washing cars and similar activities. However, most of our water footprint is the water used to produce the food we eat and more and more that food is traveling the globe. That would be fine in areas where the groundwater is recharging and being used sustainably or where agriculture is irrigated from rain captured in farm ponds, but not when the groundwater is not being recharged in any meaningful way.The future of Arizona is being shipped in ton after ton of alfalfa shipped to Saudi Arabia for their dairies.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Time to Start Composting

Fairfax County temporarily eliminated yard waste pickup to protect solid waste employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. In Loudoun County officials are asking residents to reduce yard waste and in Prince William County only bagged household garbage and recycling will be accepted.

With all the rain and warmer weather this means that many of us will have yard waste materials readily available for composting, and with more people eating at home, it’s the perfect time to start composting food waste. Composting is merely the managed decomposition of plant remains and other once-living materials to make an earthy, dark, crumbly substance that can be used to enrich garden soil. It is one way to recycle your yard and kitchen wastes, reduce the volume of garbage you send to landfills and live a more sustainable life. According to 2017 data 12% of U.S. trash is food and another 13% is yard waste. By composting these items we can reduce trash to landfills by 25%.

According to Christine McCoy of the Fairfax Solid Waste Management Program Yard and food waste can be composted except for:
  • meat, fat, grease
  • fireplace ashes
  • dairy products
  • pet waste
  • yard waste that contains noxious weeds, invasive plants, is diseased or too bulky also do not compost black walnuts.
Meat and fat attract rodents and flies; pet waste may contain parasites and bacteria; and large sticks and logs take too long to break down, though the pile of wood next to the fire pit in our yard is well on its way.

The structure and composition of compost determines a successful outcome. It is necessary to have 70%t carbon (brown) and 30 % nitrogen (green) mix.:
  • Brown waste are: newspaper, cardboard, dead leaves and small twigs
  • Greens waste are grass clippings and food waste, including fruit
Your approach to composing to a large extent will be dictated by how large your yard is and your interest in the project. Because I have acres of land and woods I have the luxury of utilizing the lazy girl’s methods of composting. The most basic and passive form of composting is backyard mulching. The largest amount of green waste generated at the suburban home is from the garden. Grass clippings should be left on the ground, they will decompose and add nutrients to the soil, improving the quality of your yard. There are mulching blades for the mower.

With lots of land I can create a mulch pile in a sunny location away from the house. The sun ‘cooks’ the compost, using heat to breakdown the material. The internal compost pile temperature should be between 90 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit an easy thing in a Virginia summer. The pile should be kept moist but not wet. Food waste should be buried about a foot deep into the pile. Keeping the pile moist and turning it every few days with a garden pitchfork will accelerate the decomposition process.

If you live in a small lot suburban or urban environment that does not collect your kitchen scraps, then you will have to utilize a rodent proof and enclosed method of composting. There are basically three enclosed methods of composting which can be used for interior, garage or small yard/patio composting:

Bokashi is done inside your home. Kitchen waste is placed into a container which can be sealed with an air tight lid to contain the smell. Kitchen scraps are layered with a Bokashi carrier, wheat bran, rice hulls or saw dust that has been inoculated with composting micro-organisms. When using this method, it is best to have more than one container and to fill the second while the bacteria in the first are completing their work.

Vermiculture is the method of composting using worms. Worm composting typically uses a commercial worm bin. Bedding material must be used, typically, shredded newspaper that has been moistened. A handful or two of soil, ground limestone, or well-crushed eggshells every couple of months is good for providing grit and calcium. You fill the bin with moistened bedding, toss in a few handfuls of soil, and add the worms and food scraps. Red worms are sold for the purpose. Be sure to keep your worm composter at moderate temperatures, which basically requires keeping it in the garage.

A sealed drum composter can be used if you have any outdoor space. These systems are rotating drums of various sizes. You simply rotate the drum three times a week during warm weather to ensure perfect mix and proper air circulation. When the weather is freezing do not turn the drum

However, you may not have time for yet one more thing in your life, or just are put off by tending garbage especially in the summer. There is one other option. You can buy your composting. Fairfax county lists two licensed composting companies that pick up you organic waste from the curb and bring it back to you for gardening. Of course there is a fee, but it may be the way to go for the busy household.The two companies are Veteran Compost and Compost Crew.