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An in-stream waste treatment technology

A waste storage lagoon at a Washington dairy is being converted into a waste treatment facility with the help of a new technology that enhances naturally occurring biological activity.

Pacific Northwest National Laboratory brought Battelle's InStreem™ technology to the George DeRuyter Dairy in Outlook, Wash., installing a floating unit at the dairy in January as part of a one-year demonstration test. Battelle operates the Laboratory for the U.S. Department of Energy.

The InStreem™ unit is equipped with 10 aeration discs, each 54 inches in diameter. Powered by a 5-horsepower motor, the discs displace water in adjustable horizontal and vertical planes around a barrier that divides the lagoon. Used this way, the InStreem™ treatment is similar to municipal biological wastewater treatment technologies used at more than 400 community waste treatment plants across the United States and Canada.

Using a dairy's existing infrastructure, the InStreem™ technology combines aerobic and anaerobic processes within a single lagoon for waste treatment. The aerated-anoxic process is designed to remove nitrogen, while the circulation created by the device promotes odor reduction and formation of water-insoluble forms of phosphorous, reducing the amount of nutrients available for contamination of water resources.

A single cow produces 85 pounds of waste a day, contributing to health and environmental concerns such as E. coli, fecal coliforms and contaminated surface water and groundwater. In the Northwest alone, InStreem™ is a potential solution for 950 large dairieseach having about 1,500 cows. One InStreem™ unit can treat a lagoon 1 to 1.5 acres in size.

Soil Search of Finley, Wash., is assessing the one-year demonstration at the Outlook dairy, monitoring the site for a number of conditions.

"According to Soil Search, in the first three months, the depth of solids dropped from six feet to six inches, and that was during the coldest part of the year," said John Jaksch, who is the program manager for the project in the Northwest and grew up on a dairy farm. In addition to reducing the quantity of waste, the technology has successfully reduced odors at the dairy operation.

"We want to gather data for the entire seasonal life cycle, benchmark it against existing waste lagoon management practices and other alternative approaches and technologies, then nail down the technical and economic story for the dairy industry," Jaksch said.

Soil Search has licensed the right to sell InStreem™ for use at dairies in Washington, Oregon, California, Idaho, North Carolina and South Carolina. The Choctaw Manufacturing and Development Corp. in Hugo, Okla., manufactures the units while Tierra Environmental Services of New Mexico is the national distributor.

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