Page Banner

United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Vanotti, Matias

Submitted to: Electronic Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 2004
Publication Date: July 26, 2004
Citation: Vanotti, M.B. 2004. Evaluation of environmentally superior technology: Swine waste treatment system for elimination of lagoons, reduced environmental impact, and improved water quality (Solids separation/nitrification-denitrification/soluble phosphorus removal/solids processing system). Final Report for Technology Determination per Agreements Between the Attorney General of North Carolina and Smithfield Foods, Premium Standard Farms, and Frontline Farmers. July 26, 2004. Available:

Technical Abstract: Systems of treatment technologies are needed that capture nutrients, reduce emissions of ammonia and nuisance odors, and kill harmful pathogens. A system of swine wastewater treatment technologies was developed to accomplish many of these tasks. The project was a collaborative effort involving scientists, engineers and personnel from private business, university and USDA. The project addressed one of the nation's greatest environmental problems - the cleanup and disposal of manure from swine-production wastewater. The system greatly increased the efficiency of liquid/solid separation by injection of polymer to increase solids flocculation. Nitrogen management to eliminate ammonia emissions was accomplished by passing the liquid through a module where immobilized bacteria transformed nitrogen. Subsequent alkaline treatment of the wastewater in a phosphorus module precipitated calcium phosphate and killed pathogens. Treated wastewater was recycled to clean hog houses and for crop irrigation. The system went through full-scale demonstration and verification as part of the Smithfield Foods/Premium Standard Farms/Frontline Farmers - North Carolina Attorney General Agreement to identify technologies that can replace current lagoons with Environmentally Superior Technology. Objectives of this report were to provide critical performance evaluation of the Swine Manure Treatment System to determine if the technology meets the criteria of Environmentally Superior Technology defined in section II.C of the Agreement. Specifically, evaluation of technical and operational feasibility and performance standards related to the elimination of discharge of animal waste into waters and the substantial elimination of nutrient and heavy metal contamination of soil and groundwater. The treatment plant completed design, permitting, construction, startup, and one year operation period under steady-state conditions. The full-scale demonstration facility was installed in a 4,400-head finishing farm in Duplin County, North Carolina. Major goals in the demonstration and verification of the new wastewater treatment system for swine manure at full scale were achieved including replacement of anaerobic lagoon treatment, and consistent treatment performance with varying solids and nutrient loads typical in animal production, and cold and warm weather conditions. The system used polymer liquid-solid separation technology, nitrification/denitrification technology, and soluble P removal technology linked together into a practical system. The system removed 97.6% of the suspended solids, 99.7% of BOD, 98.5% of TKN, 98.7% of ammonia, 95% of total P, 98.7% of copper and 99.0% of zinc. In less than a year, the anaerobic lagoon that was replaced with the treatment system was converted into an aerobic pond with ammonia concentration of < 30 mg/L. The treatment system also removed 97.9% of odor compounds in the liquid. It was verified that the technology is technically and operationally feasible. Based on performance results obtained, the treatment system meets the riteria of Environmentally Superior Technology defined in section II.C of the Agreement on performance standards for the elimination of discharge of animal waste to surface waters and groundwater, and for the substantial elimination of nutrient and heavy metal contamination of soil and groundwater.

Last Modified: 7/11/2014