Methods to Avoid Tearing the Covers
ComposTex absorbs many times its weight in water from rainfall and/or snowmelt. And although the fabric dries out relatively quickly when dry conditions return, if a cover has to be handled BEFORE it has a chance to dry out, this extra weight could cause a large cover to tear as it's being pulled on or off a pile. Therefore, if ComposTex is being used on active piles that need to be turned, there are a variety of methods that should be considered to reduce the risk of tearing, including:
- Do not pick up and/or pull the covers using equipment with metal edges that could cut or pierce the fabric.
- Since the covers tend to dry out relatively quickly, whenever possible, operators should avoid removing the covers from the pile until after the covers have had some time to dry out.
- If waiting for the covers to dry out isn't possible because of long rainy spells and/or very frequent turning, one option would be to reduce turning frequency, which has a variety of additional advantages/benefits that are described in the “Low-Input Composting” article posted on this website.
- If reducing turning frequency and/or waiting for large covers to dry out isn’t possible, another option would be to purchase smaller covers that would be lighter and easier to handle when wet. These smaller covers could be ordered with grommets installed along the edges to allow two adjoining covers to be attached together with rope or plastic ties, or the two adjacent covers could simply be overlapped slightly with anchors laid along this overlapped section, or secured with one or two ropes that are laid across this overlap and weighted at both ends.
- A major factor related to the tearing of covers is the concentration of pulling forces on a relatively small surface area of the fabric. The best way to avoid this situation is to spread out these pulling forces to a larger surface area by attaching one or more "grab loops". These grab loops are made using a round object (e.g. a hardball, or tennis ball) that's wrapped inside a small bunched-up portion of the cover and then "tied off" at the bottom using rope with an exposed loop. This loop is then used to attach the cover to whatever machine is being used to remove or apply the covers to the pile. If additional support is needed, additional grab loops to create multiple attachment points to further distribute the weight of the cover as it's being pulled on or off the pile.
- And finally, if the covers are getting wet while they're laying on the ground when they're OFF the piles, they should be moved to a dry area for temporary storage when not in use.