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ARS Home » Plains Area » Clay Center, Nebraska » U.S. Meat Animal Research Center » Livestock Bio-Systems » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #361574

Research Project: Sustainable Management and Byproduct Utilization of Manure Nutrients and Environmental Contaminants from Beef and Swine Production Facilities

Location: Livestock Bio-Systems

Title: Development of a cost-effective treatment process for removing antimicrobials from agricultural wastewater

item Woodbury, Bryan
item Stromer, Bobbi
item Williams, Clinton
item WOODWARD, KATHERINE - Tufts University
item Hakk, Heldur
item Lupton, Sara

Submitted to: Waste to Worth Conference
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 3/1/2019
Publication Date: 4/1/2019
Citation: Woodbury, B.L., Stromer, B.S., Williams, C.F., Woodward, K.A., Hakk, H., Lupton, S.J. 2019. Development of a cost-effective treatment process for removing antimicrobials from agricultural wastewater. In: Proceedings of Waste to Worth Conference, April 22-26, 2019, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Available:

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Much of the antimicrobials used therapeutically and prophylactically pass through the animal and enter the environment through irrigation with beef runoff wastewater. There are concerns repeated, low-level antimicrobial loading of soils through irrigation will alter the natural biota resulting in increased resistance; thereby, making them less effective treating human health. Therefore, a wastewater treatment process was developed and tested for removing antimicrobials from beef wastewater. Antimicrobials contained in wastewater can be partitioned into the suspended solids or aqueous fractions. Traditional flocculation can remove some antimicrobials partitioned onto the suspended solids but cannot reduce concentration sufficiently to prevent overloading of natural systems. Diatomaceous earth was added following flocculation to bind with aqueous phase antimicrobials. Once bound, the diatomaceous earth was separated from the wastewater. This reduced the antimicrobial concentrations of most polar compounds in the wastewater sufficiently to allow it to be used as irrigation. Work continues in refining the process for commercial application and developing binding agents for non-polar compounds.