Top Ten(+1) Reasons for Biotic Soil Technologies Versus Compost

July 19, 2016

Biotic Soil Technology (BST) is a generic term to represent the emerging field of manufactured growth media containing naturally derived biodegradable fibers, biostimulants, biological inoculants, soil building components and other amendments designed to accelerate sustainable vegetative establishment and promote regeneration of denuded soils. BST have been engineered as cost effective alternatives and/or complements to soil, compost and other materials prescribed when topsoil is unavailable or too costly to import, lacking organic matter, or there is little to no biological activity. BSTs are engineered to foster the development of top soil in deficient substrates within the rhizosphere, promote faster seed germination, and provide long term nutrient cycling that enhances sustainable vegetation establishment.

These materials are manufactured under controlled conditions with specific formulations that ensure product consistency. BSTs contain components to increase the water and nutrient holding capacity of the soil while creating an ideal environment for growth of beneficial microorganisms while allowing seed germination and vegetation establishment. BSTs are typically mixed with water and hydraulically‐applied as a uniform slurry.

  1. Quality Assurance/Quality Control – Unlike compost developed from variable and potentially un-traceable components and field harvested from batch to batch, BSTs are engineered from carefully sourced components and manufactured under highly controlled conditions to insure consistency in each and every bale of material provided.
  2. Environmentally Preferable – Phyto-sanitized BSTs demonstrate virtually no pathogens, significantly lower levels of metals, no phyto-toxins, lower salt contents, and fewer man-made contaminants than Class A compost – as defined under US EPA mandated thresholds for biosolids. These thresholds are typically higher than those required for hydraulically-applied erosion control products (HECPs).
  3. Exceed Class A Compost Requirements – The Biotic Soil Technology can meet or exceed United States Composting Council (USCC) Class A requirements – providing an environmentally preferable option to treat and develop soils.
  4. On Site Storage – With weather resistant packaging and low moisture content, BSTs may be safely stored outdoors on project sites. BST are hydraulically-applied to add and retain moisture for accelerated growth establishment and soil building capabilities.
  5. Ease of Application – The material can be placed faster and more uniformly through standard hydraulic seeding/mulching equipment with no dust, minimum potential for wind erosion and Foreign Object Debris (FOD).
  6. Safety – BST dramatically reduces the number of truckloads coming and going from jobsites – improving safety for owners, contractors and the general public.
  7. Combined Application with other Erosion Control and Revegetation Components– Seed, fertilizer and other soil amendments may be applied in the same hydraulic slurry with the Biotic Soil Technology, saving time and improving worker safety due to less exposure to jobsite hazards as well as ground or air traffic. Conversely compost is typically broadcasted pneumatically or spread with slinging or other devices such as a manure spreader. Seed, fertilizer, lime and other materials mixed in with the compost will not be uniformly distributed. Thus, these component are typically placed in a separate and more costly application.
  8. Inclement Weather Application – Biotic Soil Technology may be applied in wet or freezing temperatures and require minimal soil preparation.
  9. Superior Erosion Control Effectiveness – Standalone Biotic Soil Technology can provide up to twice the erosion protection versus standalone compost blankets.
  10. Complementary with other Erosion Control Techniques – The Biotic Soil Technology are designed to complement and bond with hydraulically-applied, rolled and other erosion control products. In fact, a combination of a BST and a Bonded Fiber Matrix (BFM) was documented to achieve 99% effectiveness at the prestigious and very demanding Utah Water Research Laboratory.
  11. Lower Installed Cost – Research on US DOT applications shows a marked reduction in total installed cost of BST versus compost. A “compost blankets” can cost up to double that of a hydraulically-applied BST that offers so many benefits.