Composting of waste is an aerobic (requires oxygen) natural process of “rotting” or decomposing organic matter by microorganisms under controlled conditions. The composting process involves four main components: organic matter, moisture, oxygen, and bacteria.


• To convert organically bound nitrogen to a form of nitrogen to a usable form of nitrogen

• Kill pathogens, weeds seeds and larvae

• Reduce the volume of material

• Provide a soil amendment

• Reduce contamination of groundwater



• Zeolite captures ammonium that is the source of the ammonia gas that is the aerosol of odors.


• Zeolite retains the nitrogen in the form of ammonium.

• The Zeolite also contains more than 3% potassium.


• Reduces the volume of compost feedstock by up to 50%.


• By absorbing ammonia gas.


• Zeolite holds nitrogen in the growth zone where it is not water soluble, but plant accessible on an as needed basis.


• Increases seed germination and growth.

• 20% higher yield.


• Increases nutrients, porosity, oxygen content, and mediates the pH.


• Holds up to 50% of its weight in water and rehydrates at night when it is cooler.


• Inhibits the oxidation of ammonium to nitrates that are very water soluble and contaminate the groundwater.


• Counteracts the inhibitory effect of ammonia overloads on microorganisms.

• Microorganisms colonize on the surfaces of Zeolite where nutrients and water are available.


Ammonia & Steam

• Zeolite porosity maintains the space needed for oxygen.


• Maintains pH levels for composting and nitrogen utilization in soil.


• Enabled aeration for metabolic heat generation by aerobic microorganisms.

• Helps maintain the heat required to kill weed seeds, pathogens, and fly larvae.


• Zeolite holds more than 50% of its weight in water in open channel-ways. and reduces evaporation from the compost.


• Decreases the developmental lag phase of microorganisms.



• Captures ammonium before it can convert to ammonia gas (NH3), reducing nitrogen losses by 50%.

• Reduces odor and fly attraction.

• Top Dress Rate: 1 to 2%


Organically bound nitrogen Bound in organic matter and unavailable to plants

Ammonia (NH3)


Ammonium (NH4+)

Plant available

Nitrite (NO3-)

Oxidizing bacteria convert ammonia

to nitrite, which is toxic to plants

Nitrate (NO3-)

Nitrite-oxidizing bacteria convert nitrite to nitrate, a plant available nitrogen, which is very water soluble


COMPOST COMPONENTS: consist of (1) nutrients, (2) carbon and nitrogen

Nutrients: Adequate phosphorous, potassium, calcium, iron, boron, copper, etc. are necessary for microbial metabolism, but they are normally in the compost feedstock.

Carbon and nitrogen: The two basic ingredients in composting are carbon and nitrogen. Ideally the C:N ratio by weight should be 30:1. Too low a carbon ratio will result in excess nitrogen that is lost as ammonia gas that

creates odor problems. Too high a carbon ratio inhibits the growth of microorganism populations and the compost will remain cool and the composting degradation will be slowed. When the compost is finished, the C:N ratio will be 10-15:1 because the microorganisms will convert two thirds of the carbon to carbon dioxide. The sources of carbon (generally brown in color) and nitrogen (generally green) are as follows:

MICROORGANISMS: The main microorganisms in composting are aerobic bacteria and fungi. If not enough oxygen is provided, the compost turns anaerobic (no oxygen), microorganisms die and the compost generates putrid smells, including hydrogen sulfide.


OXYGEN: Aerobic microorganisms can survive on 5% oxygen, but >10% is considered optimal. Oxygen is most

commonly provided by turning the compost or by compressed air.

MOISTURE: Composting materials should contain between 40-60% moisture.

pH: A pH of 5.5-8.5 is ideal for the microorganisms. In early composting acids tend to accumulate and this promotes the fungi and the consequent breakdown of lignin and cellulose.

TEMPERATURE: The temperature in active compost piles range from 55-70o C which destroys pathogens and

weed seeds. Temperature is controlled by turning and the addition of water.


TURNING: If the temperature falls below 50oC or rises above 65oC, the compost is turned.

WATER: Additional water can be added during turning if the compost is too dry.

TIME: The composting process occurs within 6-9 months. However, some in-vessel operations take only 30 days.

VOLUME: The loss of carbon dioxide and water may reduce the final volume of the compost by 50% or more.

AmmoniaAmmonia losses are a result of low C:N ratios. NH3 is at equilibrium with NH4 at a pH of 9. At a pH of >9, the ammonium gases to ammonia. Little ammonia is generated at acidic pHs.Add carbon
Hydrogen sulfideHydrogen sulfide odors are generated if the compost becomes anaerobic. Hydrogen sulfide is more difficult to disperse because hydrogen sulfide is heavier than air, and they tend to accumulate in the compost area.Add oxygen Turn compost to aerate


WINDROW COMPOSTING: This is common in fields and is better on a concrete or impermeable surface. The compost can be turned with tractors or compost turners.

IN-VESSEL COMPOSTING: This refers to composting in metal or plastic tanks or concrete bunkers that confine the material in buildings, containers, or vessels which protect groundwater and confine odors. These systems start with anaerobic digestion and finish with aerobic digestion.

How Zeolite Works

Zeolite has the ability to exchange ammonium (NH4+1) into its lattice through its cation exchange capacity (CEC).*

The Zeolite lattices are negatively charged and are able to hold positively charged ammonium (NH4+1) and potassium (K+1), which are accessible to microorganisms as needed for growth but not water soluble.


Zeolite contains approximately 3.47% potassium, which is an important nutrient in fertilizers. Zeolite holds at least 55% of its weight in water that protects the plant against drought.

The plant releases hydrogen (H+1) during growth, which exchanges with ammonium (NH4+1) held in the Zeolite lattice, which is plant accessible but not water soluble.

Available water (H2O) is held in the open pore spaces of the Zeolite in the growth zone.



Zeolite will adsorb and mitigate odors from paints, solvents, alcohol, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), possibly methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE), diesel, oils, gasoline, urine, acids, bases, antifreeze, chemical and laboratory spills.

Hospitals, Schools and Emergency Services. Zeolite will adsorb and mitigate odor from vomit, blood, urine, and excrement.

Concrete. Oil and other odoriferous liquids can be removed from concrete floors and other items by the use of -40 mesh Zeolite Repeat applications and rub it into the surface of the concrete.

Spill Kits for Airports, Vehicles, Aircraft. Sprinkle Zeolite on the spill and sweep it up.

Slaughter Houses, Rendering Plants, Fish Processing Facilities. Use Zeolite to manage odor build up in waste collection areas by top dressing waste and by hanging breathable Zeolite filled bags.

Service Stations, Shops and parking lots. Use Zeolite for clean up and odor control.

Landfills. Landfills can be top dressed with layers of Zeolite to reduce odors.

Mine ENuents. Zeolite is used extensively to prevent the formation of ammonia by removing ammonium from eNuents.

Stock tanks, Aquaculture, Aquariums, Fishponds. Remove algae and ammonium from stock tanks, fish hatcheries, ponds, fish transport trucks and other water sources.

• Zeolite will adsorb nitrogen (ammonium) before it gases to ammonia.

• Algae are attracted to the held ammonium and will migrate to the Zeolite resulting in clear water.

Mold and fungus. Zeolite is an effective desiccant. Moisture held in basements, closets and other damp areas contributes to the growth of mold and fungus and produces musty odors.

• Inhibits the growth of mold (that generate mycotoxins) and fungus in animal feed stuffs, dry distillers grain (DDG), basements, closets, crawl-ways, etc.

Septic, Sewer, Drainfield. A Zeolite top dress will deodorize flooded areas and absorb moisture.


• Sand/anthracite and multimedia bed replacements in municipal water treatment plants.

• Surface and ground water filtration.

• Economical filter beds upstream from RO (reverse osmosis) and nano-membrane plants.


Lower Capitol Requirement To Increase Filtration Capacity

The capacity of a sand/anthracite municipal water plant can be doubled with no additional cost by switching the filter media to zeolite.

Better Cleaning

Backwash, especially with air sparge, efficiently cleans bed granules.

Fewer Backwash Cycles

Zeolite requires only one half of the backwash cycles that are required by sand/anthracite.

Less Backwash Water

The fewer backwash cycles generally cut the amount of backwash water by one third to one half. This means treating less backwash water and greater plant treatment capacity.

Greater Loading Due To Greater Surface Area

Zeolite generally has 6 to 7 times the surface area as sand. This makes Zeolite a much better filter media with greater holding capacity.

Removal of Contaminants

Zeolite removes metals , radioactive elements, pathogens, nitrogen, certain organic  hydrocarbons, and many other contaminates.

Long Filter Bed Life

The anticipated filter bed life of Zeolite is more than 10 years. Other zeolites contain clay which drastically shortens the life of the filter bed.

Increases Flow Rates In Gravity Systems

In a Zeolite filter media system, the flow rate is typically greater in comparison to other materials.

Simpler Handling

Zeolite beds simplify filter bed material handling.

pH Modulation

Zeolite will tend to make slightly acidic (e.g. pH – 5.5-6.0) water more near neutral.

Land Application of Spent ZeoliteFilter Bed

Under most conditions, the spent Zeolite filter bed can be recycled as a soil amendment for lawns and gardens instead of disposing at industrial waste or HAZMAT sites.



Increased flow rate

DE (diatomaceous earth) like clarity

Zeolite has is a nominal 3 to 5 micron filter rating.

Reduces backwash time by up to 50% Higher loading capacity than sand

Zeolite has an extensive surface area for greater filtration.

Less chlorine is needed

Zeolite exchanges ammonium from urine directly into the crystal lattice where it is not water soluble, reducing the level of chlorination.

Reduces eye irritation

Less chlorine is used and fewer chloramines (that burn the eyes) are formed.

Life expectancy is the same as sand

Simple disposal

Used Zeolite can be applied as a soil amendment for gardens and

potted plants.



Physical filtration barriers for accumulation or collection of microorganisms in water that endanger human health have been in focus during the last several years. Under certain conditions, Zeolite collects pathogens, such as Giardia, Cryptosporidium, bacteria and their spores. Most of these organisms and their spores are in the size range of 0.5-10 micrometers (microns). In contrast, the water permeable pores in Zeolite are mostly smaller than .05 microns; therefore the zeolite fragment or granule can “surface collect” a high percentage of these microorganisms while the water passes through the zeolite fragment.

The drinking water standards for microorganism pathogens, and turbidity can be more easily met using a natural, relatively low-cost material, such as Zeolite rather than “sand”.

The advantages of using Zeolite in physical filtration systems:

• The high internal and external surface area of Zeolite (25m2/g) exceeds that of quartz by more than 10 times.

• Zeolite fragments tend to be discoid shaped, rather than round, thus presenting a large surface area (per unit of mass).

• Zeolite pore space permeability for water transmission through the grains or fragments is 100% better when compared to non-permeable quartz grains.




Minus 40 mesh Zeolite is an advanced, surface water turbidity, silt sorption and flocculation product developed for municipal drinking water

plants and industrial pumping stations. Zeolite is used for auger or slurry fed treatment (higher turbidity water requires higher doses). The sorbed/flocculated solids are granular with a specific gravity of 1.2 to 1.4. The specific gravity of Zeolite is 2 to 2.1, which enhances rapid settling.

• Drinking water-alum & polymer flocculation chemistry replacement.

• Turbidity, silt, algae (bio-particle) & TOCs removal from surface water.

• Enhances clarification performance; decreases filter bed solids loading.


Better Solid/Liquid Separation than Alum and Polymer

The specific gravity of the alum/polymer floccules is 1.03 and this results in many “pin flocs” that do not settle. The specific gravity of the Zeolite is 1.4 and this results in a clean solid/liquid separation and interface giving better clarity.

ZEOLITE System Reagent Not Bulky

The alum/polymer reagent is bulky and hard to handle compared to the Zeolite system.

Apply Spent ZEOLITE Reagent on Land

The spent alum/polymer reagent must be taken to a licensed land fill.

Lower Cost with ZEOLITE

Although the reagent cost of the Zeolite systems is about 10% higher than the alum/polymer system the overall cost

is much less due to easier dewatering and a lower solids management cost.

Better Removal of Heavy Metals, Certain Hydrocarbons, Chloramines, and Ammonium


Cation Removal

Zeolite is a negatively charged cation exchange agent. As a result of its high cation exchange capacity, Zeolite is able to exchange various cations (ions with a positive charge) into its lattice depending on their molecular size, competing cations, and concentrations. During the cation exchange process, cations move from the Zeolite mineral lattice and are replaced by other cations, which are held in a non-water soluble state within the lattice.


Zeolite has two ways of holding cations (positive ions; such as ammonium, calcium, sodium, and potassium). The first way is in its crystal lattice where the ammonium and other cations are held and are not water soluble. The second way is in its channel-ways where Zeolite can hold up to 55% of its weight in water. In this case the cations are more loosely held and are water-soluble. Zeolite is an excellent desiccant.

ION EXCHANGE FLOW PROCESS STAGE 1Incoming contaminated water enters the holding tank for storage, homogenizing, and pretreatment for problematic cations, anions, gases, and particulates. Water is agitated and treated with chemicals
STAGE 2Pretreated water is processed in ion exchange vessels, treated with hydrochloric acid and rinsed.
STAGE 3Desorption of chemicals from treated eNuent.
STAGE 4Final chemical adjustment and aeration then discharge to a river, irrigation system, etc.
STAGE 5ENuent enters brine storage vessel or lined earthen dam for further concentration of sodium by aeration.




Surface application

When surface applied to remove oil sheen, the dry dust floats by virtue of the air in the numerous channel-ways in the mineral.

Oil containment

The floating mineral adsorbs the oil and the specific gravity of the mineral increases. At a saturated level, the mineral coagulates into a clump and sinks. The oil sheen is removed.

Depending on the thoroughness of the mixing, Zeolite will hold the oil indefinitely on the sea floor or bottom. In the case of an oil-sheen, all the oil enters the mineral channel-ways and is permanently encapsulated after it sinks.

Zeolite removes heavy concentrations of oil

In the case of massive amounts of oil, the oil will initially sink when absorbed by Zeolite. Larger globules are released back to the surface and will be contained by additional Zeolite treatment.

Zeolite can be inoculated with oil digesting microbes


• Zeolitecan be applied as a dust on the surface of water that has an oil-sheen, because dry dust floats by virtue of the air in the numerous mineral channel-ways.

• Zeolitecan be applied from aircraft or from vessels.

• Zeolitecan be dispersed as a dust by disc distributors, pneumatic-venturi guns, or many other methods.


(with numbered extraction methods)

To remove ammonia gas from CAFOs, farms, rendering plants, landfills, sewage plants, lagoons, waste water plants, and mine explosive gases.

Physiological Response to Various Concentrations of Ammonia 7 Physiological ResponseApproximate Ammonia Concentration in Air (ppm)
Least detectable odor50
Maximum concentration allowable for prolonged exposure100
Maximum concentration allowable for short exposure (1/2-1 hr)300-500
Least amount causing immediate irritation to throat400
Least amount causing immediate irritation to eyes700
Compulsive coughing and possible death1700
Dangerous for even short exposure (1/2 hr)2500-4500

CARBON DIOXIDE (CO3) This is the green house gas that has allegedly caused global warming.

CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) This gas is lethal in the higher concentrations and it is emitted from incomplete combustion of fuels in coal fired generators, and engines of all types.

ETHYLENE (C3H4) “Ethylene gas acts as a plant hormone that accelerates respiration leading to maturity and softening and ripening of many kinds of fruits… yellowing of green vegetables, and may be responsible for many post-harvest defects in fruits and vegetables.”4 To extend shelf-life and keep an acceptable visual quality, accumulation of ethylene in the packaging should be prevented. This is accomplished by adding Zeolite in breathable small bags or by other methods.

EXHAUST GASES (NOX, N3O, N, SO3, CO3, CO) Exhaust gases are the most important contaminants to the atmosphere. “The use of Zeolite and a noble metal reduced exhaust gases by 19.7 to 75% depending on the contact time.”


heads, and tanks.


To remove hydrogen sulfide from oil refineries, natural gas plants, well

METHANE GAS (CH4) Nitrogen is removed from natural gas to increase the BTUs.

MERCURY (Hg) Mercury is extremely toxic and can be lethal. “Mercury can be removed from exhaust gases of an industrial process (coal fired generators, etc.) or combustion processes by the use of Zeolite that acts as a sorbent. The mercury-laden sorbent can be regenerated by heating it to at least 400oC to remove the mercury.”

NITROGEN (N) Nitrogen can be removed from contaminated natural gas (methane) that reduces the fuel heating value. Fifteen percent of the US natural gas is off grade.

NITROUS OXIDES (NOX, N3O, NO3) “Nitrous oxides are the most frequently monitored components of the atmosphere”, and they are primarily the result of burning fossil fuels and automotive engines. Nitrous oxides damage the ozone layer and contribute to the greenhouse effect. The long-term effects of higher concentrations of nitrous oxide are that they decrease the resistance of organisms to infection and together with sulfur dioxide contribute to the development of long term chronic inflammatory disease of the respiratory track. Zeolite alone can be used to decrease the nitrous oxides. More often it is used as a sorbent together with a noble metal such as platinum, palladium or rhodium.


Radon gas is a daughter element of radium (which can be removed by Zeolite) and a serious carcinogen if breathed for long periods of time. It is commonly found in basements from the decay of underlying bedrock. Although Zeolite will adsorb radon a much higher efficiency is achieved by exchanging silver into the Zeolite that makes it a catalytic scrubber.

OXYGEN (O3) Oxygen can be enriched by the removal of nitrogen with a pressure swing apparatus (PSA).

SMOKE DEODORIZER For houses, apartments, commercial buildings.

SULFUR DIOXIDE (SO3), To remove and concentrate sulfur dioxide streams to produce liquefied sulfur dioxide, elemental sulfur, sulfuric acid, or ammonium sulfate (a fertilizer).

VOLATILE ORGANIC COMPOUNDS (VOCs) To remove benzene, toluene, ethyl benzene, and xylene (BTEX) from produced water.


CATION EXCHANGE. “Zeolite” refers to a group of minerals that are basically hydrated calcium potassium sodium aluminosilicates in which the water is held in cavities and in the lattice. The lattices are negatively charged and they loosely hold cations such as calcium, sodium, ammonium, and potassium and also water. Their ability to exchange one cation for another is known as their “cation- exchange capacity” or “CEC.” Cation-exchange capacity is a measure of the number of cations per unit weight available for exchange, usually expressed as mill equivalents per 100 grams of material. One of the major causes of odor from animals is the generation of ammonia from urea and manure.

Essential advantages of using zeolite for odor control are that it captures ammonium and prevents the formation of ammonia gas that is lighter than air and is the aerosol for noxious odors. It also removes moisture that inhibits mold, bacteria, and musty odors, and it prevents the leaching of the nitrogen to the groundwater.

SURFACE MODIFIED ZEOLITE (SMZ). In other systems, the zeolite in the air filter is surface modified to become an anion exchange element. The modifier is typically a quaternary amine. Some applications have involved a revolving filter that adsorbs in one position and desorbs in another position with hot air. Most of the SMZ can be regenerated for further use.

IMPREGNATION WITH OXIDANT. As air passes through a filter, the hydrogen sulfide is oxidized to sulfur dioxide. A further addition would be metallic iron that would precipitate the sulfur as pyrite or marcasite completely removing sulfur from the air stream.

INOCULATION WITH BACTERIA. Zeolite is inoculated with bacteria to restart sewage treatment plants to resume the digestion process after thermal or chemical shock. It becomes a carrier and can be used for a variety of applications, i.e. petroleum eating bacteria, hydrogen sulfide, etc. Microorganisms colonize in the Zeolite where they get nutrients and water.


The crystal structure of Zeolite contains channel ways or windows that allow the passage of air through the mineral. These cages will capture and hold certain size molecules.

Zeolite becomes a molecular sieve to exclude various amounts of other molecules larger than 0.28 nm.

However, Zeolite will pass a certain percentage of molecules that are greater than 0.28 nm through different crystal axis orientations.

In a typical zeolite filter air is passed through a bed of zeolite and it retains the impurities. These filters can consist of a layer of zeolite held between screen layers. Alternatively, they can be non-woven polyester impregnated with finely ground zeolite. The sequestered gas can be desorbed by heating, washing, exposing to sunlight, or by a pressure swing apparatus (PSA), temperature swing apparatus (TSA), or an electric swing apparatus (ESW) so that the Zeolite can be reused for long periods of time.

“BIOFILTER”. In another system commonly known as a “biofilter” the gas to be purified is passed through a bed of zeolite that contains various bacteria. The temperature, moisture, and nutrients must be controlled. Here the gas is consumed by the bacteria. This is a popular method for lagoons.

“SILVER IMPREGNATION.” Zeolite is impregnated with silver ions (commonly silver nitrate solution). It captures the radon by cation exchange (Method 1) and the sorbent can be regenerated by heating. The daughter elements of radon are not in the gas form but will say in the Zeolite.

“CATALYTIC CONVERSION.” Zeolite is used as a sorbent in conjunction with a noble metal usually platinum, palladium, or rhodium to form a catalytic scrubber for nitrous oxides that can be regenerated by raising the heat.

The Zeolite lattices are negatively charged and are able to hold positive ions, such as ammonium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. The held cations are not water soluble.


1. Aguilar-Armenta, G., Hernandez-Ramirez, G., Flores-Loyola, E., Ugarte-Castaneda, A., Silva-Gonzalez, R., Tabares-Munoz, C., Jimenez-Lopez, A., and Rodriguez-Castellon, E. 2001. Adsorption kinetics of COs, Os, Ns, and CH4 in cation-exchanged clinoptilolite. J. Phys. Chem. B, 105: 1313- 1319.

2. Bikit, I., Mrdja, D., Bikit, K., Grujic, S., Knezevic, D., Forkapic, S., and Kozmidis-Luburic, U. 2015. Radon adsorption by zeolite. Radiation Measurements 72: 70-74.

3. Clean Air Technology Center (MD-12). 1998. Zeolite a versatile air pollutant adsorber. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. EPA-456/F-98-004.

4. Erdogan, B., Sakizci, M., and Yorukogullari, E. 2008. Characterization and ethylene adsorption of natural and modified clinoptilolites. Applied

Surface aci. 254: 2450-2457.

5. Macala, J., Pandova, I., and Panda, A. 2017. Zeolite as a prospective material for the purification of automobile exhaust gases. Mineral

Resources Management. 33 (1): 125-138.

6. Miner, J.R., Humenik, F.J., Rice, J.M., Rashash, D.M.C., Williams, C.M., Robarge, W., Harris, D.b., and Sheffield, R. 2003. Evaluation of a permeable, 5 cm thick polyethylene foam lagoon cover. Amer. Soc. Agri. Engineers. 46 (5): 1421-1426.

7. Pitt, R. 2002. Case study of fate and efects of ammonia spills. Retrieved 08032017,


8. Simpson, D.R., 2004. US Patent No. WO2005007262 A2. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

* Additional information on file at Bear River Zeolite Co.