Last year, I met up with avid composter and waste water management enthusiast Dave Majewski, who had established a significant compost side on the city’s East Side. Recently, Dave was presented with an opportunity to move his operation to a site along the Buffalo River. He’s calling the expanded compost business Buffalo River Compost.
Dave says that the new site is between 12 and 15 acres, located on a private property across from the old Concrete Central grain silo, which is a quarter mile in length. That gives the compost operation some impressive sight lines. Not to mention that Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is conducting Buffalo River remediation work along the entire parcel, which juts out into a bend in the river. Dave says that the land along the bank is public property, but there’s no way to get there other than boat, which means that the compound is only accessible by those who will be working/studying at the site.
While Dave is not an owner of Buffalo River Compost, he has been brought on board as a consultant, and manages the property. “It’s a serendipitous move,” Dave told me. “It fits with all of the habitat restoration that is occurring along the river. Already, we have cleared 15 acres of knotweed, which is an invasive plant. Waterkeeper is excited because we will be able to shred and compost everything that they are pulling out of the river, from dead trees. We will be able to compost on site, so that they do not have to transport the materials.”
The City of Buffalo is also happy with the project, according to Dave. The City will be dropping off the yard waste and other compostable elements that it collects. The location along the river is a lot closer than the City’s previous drop-off spots in the outskirts of the city. The Buffalo Zoo will also continue to drop off the manure from the animals, to be composted. Natural Upcycling is another local outfit that will utilize the composting operation, by dropping off fruit and vegetable waste. At the end of each composting cycle, Buffalo River Compost will sell recycled nutrients (natural fertilizer) to those who need it.
What is most exciting about this new project is that students from Canisius College and Daemon College will be interacting with the site, as part of their microbiology and environmental classes. The property will literally become a learning lab for the students and the professors, who will get to interact with the sustainable process. The City has donated crushed asphalt millings to Dave, so that he can create walkable paths for the students and other visitors to the grounds.
There is currently an office on site, to conduct daily business operations. A longterm plan will be to establish an “in vessel” composting operation at a nearby building, which is said to be structurally sound. At that time, Buffalo River Compost will embark upon year round composting and bagging. That’s when the fun will really start, says Dave.
In the meantime, Dave is busy creating a stormwater management plan, seeding wildflowers and pollinators, planting trees, and preparing for the first microbiology classes to be held to study the results. Everything that Dave is doing has been registered by the DEC, which he noted, is very important. He’s doing everything by the books, in order to create a legit work/study environment that can help to transform this parcel of land along the river.