Aerobic - Oxygen present.

Anaerobic - Oxygen absent.

Buffer zone - Area between the composting operation and homes or other sensitive land uses.

Compost - Thoroughly decomposed, humified, organic matter produced through composting and suitable for application to soil.

Composting - Process of accelerated organic matter decomposition based on microbial self-heating.

Curing - Late stage of composting, after much of the readily metabolized material has been decomposed, which provides additional stabilization.

Decomposition - The breaking down, or destruction, of dead organic materials such as fallen leaves.

Fermentation - Anaerobic decomposition involving only organic compounds.

Inorganic - Substance in which carbon-to-carbon bonds are absent; mineral matter.

Leachate - Liquid, often highly colored, which has passed through or been in contact with a composting pile.

Metabolism - Chemical processes necessary for life.

Metabolizable substance - A material which can be metabolized, or digested, to the benefit of the organism.

Microbe - Living organism of a size such that it can be seen only with a microscope.

Organic - Substance which includes carbon-to-carbon bonds.

Oxygen demand - The requirement for oxygen exerted in aerobic decomposition.

Percolation - Passage of water down through soil.

pH  - A measure on a scale of 0-14 of how acid (pH less than 7) or basic (pH above 7) a material is.

Putrescible - Organic materials prone to degrade rapidly, giving rise to obnoxious odors.

Self-heating  - Spontaneous increase in temperature of organic masses resulting from microbial action.

Stabilization - Used synonymously with decomposition.

Staging area - Area where newly received leaves are decompressed (if compacted) and wetted, prior to forming windrows.

Windrow - An elongated pile.

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