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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: INNOVATIVE BIORESOURCE MANAGEMENT TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENHANCED ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY AND VALUE OPTIMIZATION

Location: Coastal Plain Soil, Water and Plant Conservation Research

Title: Water quality and nitrogen mass loss from anaerobic lagoon columns receiving pretreated influent

Authors
item Szogi, Ariel
item Vanotti, Matias

Submitted to: Journal of Environmental Quality
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 3, 2014
Publication Date: March 21, 2014
Citation: Szogi, A.A., Vanotti, M.B. 2014. Water quality and nitrogen mass loss from anaerobic lagoon columns receiving pretreated influent. Journal of Environmental Quality. doi:10.2134/jeq 2013.08.0330.

Interpretive Summary: Anaerobic lagoons are widely used across the southeastern U.S. to store and treat wastewater generated from confined swine production operations. During lagoon treatment, gaseous losses of nitrogen (N) in the form of ammonia occur as a result of mineralization of organic N compounds and subsequent ammonia volatilization. Extensive use of anaerobic lagoons followed by application of their effluents on spray fields can contribute to air pollution. Thus, there is major public interest to develop and demonstrate best control technologies that can reduce or eliminate the environmental problems caused by ammonia gas emissions from confined animal production. In a 15-month meso-scale study, the effect of influent pre-treatment was evaluated for water quality improvement and reduction of nitrogen (N) losses from anaerobic lagoons using: 1) enhanced solid-liquid separation with polymers (SS), and 2) the same solid-liquid separation plus biological N treatment using nitrification-denitrification (SS+NDN). A conventional anaerobic lagoon was included in the study as a control. Concentrations of total Kjeldahl N (TKN), total ammoniacal N (TAN), and nitrate-N, and the volumes of column liquid and sludge were used to estimate N mass flows. At the end of the study, TKN and TAN concentrations in the liquid of SS columns were 35% and 37% lower than the control, respectively; and TKN and TAN concentrations in SS+NDN were 97% and 99% lower than the control. The N mass flow analysis revealed that SS reduced TN inflow by 30% and SS+NDN by 82% with respect to the control. The SS was ineffective to reduce ammonia losses with respect to the control. Instead, SS+NDN effectively reduced total ammonia losses by 50%, most of which occurred during the first six months of the study. Although both pretreatments can stop the mass accumulation of TN in sludge, SS+NDN had the advantage of improving water quality and abating emissions from treated lagoons. As an additional environmental benefit, SS+NDN effluents could be used for crop irrigation without the risk of ammonia losses during land application.

Technical Abstract: Control methods are needed to abate ammonia losses from swine anaerobic lagoons to reduce contribution of confined swine operations to air pollution. In a 15-month meso-scale column study, we evaluated the effect of manure pretreatment on water quality, reduction of N losses, and sludge accumulation in swine lagoons using: 1) enhanced solid-liquid separation with polymer (SS), and 2) solid-liquid separation plus biological N treatment using nitrification-denitrification (SS+NDN). A conventional anaerobic lagoon was included as a control. Concentrations of total Kjeldahl N (TKN), total ammoniacal N (TAN), and nitrate-N were monitored during the course of the study, and the volumes of column liquid and sludge were used to estimate N mass flows. At the end of the study, TKN and TAN concentrations in the liquid of SS columns were 35% and 37% lower than the control, respectively; and TKN and TAN concentrations in SS+NDN were 97% and 99% lower than the control. The N mass flow analysis revealed that SS reduced TN inflow by 30% and SS+NDN by 82% with respect to the control. The SS was ineffective to reduce ammonia losses with respect to the control. Instead, SS+NDN effectively reduced total ammonia losses by 50%, most of which occurred during the first six months of the study. Although both pretreatments can stop the mass accumulation of TN in sludge, SS+NDN had the advantage of improving water quality and abating ammonia emissions from treated lagoons. As an additional environmental benefit, SS+NDN effluents could be used for crop irrigation without the risk of NH3 losses during land application.

Last Modified: 11/22/2014
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