INNOVATIVE ANIMAL MANURE TREATMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENHANCED ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY
Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research
Title: THE SUPERSOIL PROJECT: LESSONS LEARNED
Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: August 26, 2005
Publication Date: October 5, 2005
Citation: Vanotti, M.B., Szogi, A.A., Hunt, P.G., Millner, P.D., Humenik, F., Ellison, A.Q. 2005. The Super Soil Project: Lessons learned. Animal Waste Management Symposium, October 5-7, Raleigh, North Carolina. p. 103-114. CDROM.
A new system for treating wastewater from commercial swine-production facilities was determined to meet the strict technical environmental performance standards that define an Environmentally Superior Technology. Specifically, the new technologies must eliminate the discharge of animal waste to surface or ground waters, and substantially eliminate the release from swine farms of ammonia, odor and disease-transmitting vectors and airborne pathogens, and eliminate contamination of soil or groundwater with nutrients or heavy metals. The project was part of an agreement between swine producers Smithfield Foods, Premium Standard Farms, and Frontline Farmers and the Attorney General of North Carolina to identify and evaluate cleaner technologies that could replace current waste treatment anaerobic lagoons. The ARS research stations at Florence, SC, and Beltsville, MD, cooperated with North Carolina State University and private firms to design, construct, and evaluate the new technology. The total system had two components: 1) an on-farm wastewater treatment system consisting of liquid-solid separation, nitrification/denitrification, and soluble P removal, and 2) a centralized solids processing facility where a mixture of separated manure solids and cotton gin residue was aerobically composted, and transformed into soil amendments, organic fertilizers, and potting soil. Both components were constructed and operated by Super Soil Systems USA of Clinton, NC. The on-farm system removed more than 97% of the suspended solids from wastewater. It stripped the water of 95% of its total P, 99% of its ammonia, 98% of its copper, more than 99% of its biochemical oxygen demand and odor-causing components, and produced a disinfected liquid effluent. In addition, the old wastewater lagoon was converted into clean, aerated water that substantially reduced odor and ammonia emissions. The centralized facility produced quality composts that conserved 95-100% of the nitrogen and other nutrients into a stabilized product with an earthy scent that met Class A biosolids standards due to high pathogen reduction. These findings overall showed that cleaner alternative technologies are technically and operationally feasible and that they can have significant positive impacts on the environment and the livestock industry.