A Novel Treatment System to Remove Phosphorus from Liquid Wastes

Lowering the total phosphorus (P) content of animal manures is one means of addressing concerns over P runoff following land application of animal manure. We developed a treatment system for liquid manures that conserves the manure nitrogen (N) content while removing most of the manure P content. Initial evaluation of a treatment system involving manure solid separation and precipitation of dissolved P with an alkaline salt (calcium hydroxide) resulted in poor liquid/solid separation and poor dissolved P removal and created conditions promoting ammonia-N volatilization. As a result, we developed a three step system with iterative solid removal and acid salt (ferric sulfate) precipitation of dissolved P: (1) removal of bulk and intermediate sized solids (>25 μm); (2) chemical treatment to convert dissolved P; and (3) final removal of fine solids and chemically precipitated P. When tested on manure slurries from 150 and 2700 cow dairies, 96 and 99% total P was removed respectively, resulting in liquid manure filtrates with up to 400:1 N:P ratio. While costs of treatment were roughly $38 per kg P removed, equivalent to $750 per cow annually, we anticipate that refinement of the process and beneficial uses of the solid materials (bedding, compost, etc.) will improve cost-efficacy considerably.


Church,  Clinton  Clinton.Church@ars.usda.gov     USDA-ARS 

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