An Economical Method to Install Industrial Wastewater Storage Pond Liners


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Purpose 

Over the past four decades, the number of custom slaughterhouses in Michigan has steadily decreased as the number of livestock producers declined. Those who remain are growing larger as they capitalize on the buy local food craze by providing fresh USDA-approved boxed meats at a meat counter or by adding value to the meats by further processing (i.e., sausages, hams, etc.). All slaughterhouses in the State are regulated by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) who issues permits for the proper disposal of the process wastewater for those operations that are not connected to a municipal sewer.

Typical disposal of the process wastewater involves removal of the solids through septic tank filtration and screens followed by storage of the process wastewater in ponds for eventual disposal on crop ground at agronomic rates. Facilities operating in this manner are issued a Groundwater Discharge Permit from MDEQ. However, because the state classifies slaughterhouses as an industry, the storage ponds require double liners and must meet a hydraulic conductivity of 1 x 10-7 centimeters/second.

A process wastewater storage pond is being designed for a slaughterhouse located in Coopersville, Michigan. The existing process wastewater holding pond is not sufficient to hold process water generated at the facility due to the recent expansions in slaughterhouse operations. Therefore, modifications to the existing holding pond and construction of a new holding pond to accommodate the process water generated is underway. The construction of the ponds is scheduled for spring 2017.

This paper evaluates the applicability, economic feasibility compared to geomembrane liners and constructability of pond liners using AquaBlok.

AquaBlok is a man-made clay pellet material that handles like gravel and is placed in varying thicknesses depending on the desired hydraulic conductivity and then hydrated to create a low permeable liner. Advertised as a “composite particle system” each AquaBlok particle contains an individual piece of limestone as its core. When a continuous layer of individual particles is applied, the clay (i.e., a high-quality sodium bentonite coating) surrounding each stone hydrates, swells, and binds together to produce a low-permeable earthen liner when introduced to a water environment.

What did we do? 

Based on the current operations and future growth forecast, the slaughterhouse requires a pond(s) with total holding capacity of approximately 1.6 million gallons of process wastewater. This accounts for process wastewater generated in total of eight (8) months period. Soil borings were taken at the site and soil samples were collected to determine geotechnical parameters including hydraulic conductivity. Total of eight (8) soil borings were advanced to an approximate depth of fifty (50) feet below ground surface. Based on the laboratory testing results, the hydraulic conductivity of the native clay did not meet the MDEQ’s minimum 1 x 10-7 cm/s requirement. These results indicate a need for a composite liner for the existing pond as well as the new pond. Two candidate liner materials are being evaluated. They are 1) clay liner that is constructed of AquaBlok and 2) geomembrane liner. Geomembrane are commonly being used for wastewater! holding ponds. AquaBlok is not being frequently used as liners for holding ponds. However, once constructed appropriately, this material would provide a liner with hydraulic conductivity of less than 1 x 10-8 cm/s and appropriate shear and compressive strength. Currently, the economic feasibility of the two methods is being evaluated. Also, the constructability of the AqaBlok liners is being investigated. The ponds are scheduled to be constructed in Spring 2017.

What have we learned? 

The evaluation of AquaBlok as a liner material for process wastewater holding ponds is being evaluated. The construction of the ponds is scheduled for Spring 2017. This material has promising geotechnical parameters and can provide a liner with a very low permeability once constructed appropriately. A detailed discussion of the material evaluation, liner construction methodology, economic analysis, and regulatory compliance will be presented during the oral presentation.

Use of a geotextile liner is an approved method to construct industrial wastewater storage ponds in Michigan but cost and liner installer availability is typically a detriment to fast installations.

Future Plans    

Due to a plant expansion, the design drawings and application to expand the process wastewater pond capacity and to meet the state requirements for minimum liner permeability are currently in review by the state MDEQ. Construction of the new storage pond is planned for spring 2017 pending MDEQ review and approval.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation        

Matthew J. Germane, PE, Senior Project Engineer at Environmental Resources Group, LLC

Corresponding author email    

Matt.Germane@ERGrp.net

Other authors   

Mala Hettiarachchi, Ph.D, PE, Senior Engineer at Environmental Resources Group, LLC

Additional information                

Additional information on Michigan’s rules for liner construction of industrial wastewater is available at:

http://www.michigan.gov/documents/deq/wb-groundwater-P22GuidshtIV_248171_7.pdf

Acknowledgements       

The authors wish to acknowledge DeVries Meats, Inc., in Coopersville, MI and their owner, Ken DeVries, whose site the design work and cost evaluations were completed for.

Poultry Mortality Freezer Units: Better BMP, Better Biosecurity, Better Bottom Line.

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Purpose

Why Tackle Mortality Management?  It’s Ripe for Revolution.

The poultry industry has enjoyed a long run of technological and scientific advancements that have led to improvements in quality and efficiency.  To ensure its hard-won prosperity continues into the future, the industry has rightly shifted its focus to sustainability.  For example, much money and effort has been expended on developing better management methods and alternative uses/destinations for poultry litter.

In contrast, little effort or money has been expended to improve routine mortality management – arguably one of the most critical aspects of every poultry operation.  In many poultry producing areas of the country, mortality management methods have not changed in decades – not since the industry was forced to shift from the longstanding practice of pit burial.  Often that shift was to composting (with mixed results at best).  For several reasons – improved biosecurity being the most important/immediate – it’s time that the industry shift again.

The shift, however, doesn’t require reinventing the wheel, i.e., mortality management can be revolutionized without developing anything revolutionary.  In fact, the mortality management practice of the future owes its existence in part to a technology that was patented exactly 20 years ago by Tyson Foods – large freezer containers designed for storing routine/daily mortality on each individual farm until the containers are later emptied and the material is hauled off the farm for disposal.

Despite having been around for two decades, the practice of using on-farm freezer units has received almost no attention.  Little has been done to promote the practice or to study or improve on the original concept, which is a shame given the increasing focus on two of its biggest advantages – biosecurity and nutrient management.

Dusting off this old BMP for a closer look has been the focus of our work – and with promising results.  The benefits of hitting the reset button on this practice couldn’t be more clear:

  1. Greatly improved biosecurity for the individual grower when compared to traditional composting;
  2. Improved biosecurity for the entire industry as more individual farms switch from composting to freezing, reducing the likelihood of wider outbreaks;
  3. Reduced operational costs for the individual poultry farm as compared to more labor-intensive practices, such as composting;
  4. Greatly reduced environmental impact as compared to other BMPs that require land application as a second step, including composting, bio-digestion and incineration; and
  5. Improved quality of life for the grower, the grower’s family and the grower’s neighbors when compared to other BMPs, such as composting and incineration.

What Did We Do?

We basically took a fresh look at all aspects of this “old” BMP, and shared our findings with various audiences.

That work included:

  1. Direct testing with our own equipment on our own poultry farm regarding
    1. Farm visitation by animals and other disease vectors,
    2. Freezer unit capacity,
    3. Power consumption, and
    4. Operational/maintenance aspects;
  2. Field trials on two pilot project farms over two years regarding
    1. Freezer unit capacity
    2. Quality of life issues for growers and neighbors,
    3. Farm visitation by animals and other disease vectors,
    4. Operational and collection/hauling aspects;
  3. Performing literature reviews and interviews regarding
    1. Farm visitation by animals and other disease vectors
    2. Pathogen/disease transmission,
    3. Biosecurity measures
    4. Nutrient management comparisons
    5. Quality of life issues for growers and neighbors
  4. Ensuring the results of the above topics/tests were communicated to
    1. Growers
    2. Integrators
    3. Legislators
    4. Environmental groups
    5. Funding agencies (state and federal)
    6. Veterinary agencies (state and federal)

What Have We Learned?

The breadth of the work at times limited the depth of any one topic’s exploration, but here is an overview of our findings:

  1. Direct testing with our own equipment on our own poultry farm regarding
    1. Farm visitation by animals and other disease vectors
      1. Farm visitation by scavenger animals, including buzzards/vultures, raccoons, foxes and feral cats, that previously dined in the composting shed daily slowly decreased and then stopped entirely about three weeks after the farm converted to freezer units.
      2. The fly population was dramatically reduced after the farm converted from composting to freezer units.  [Reduction was estimated at 80%-90%.]
    2. Freezer unit capacity
      1. The test units were carefully filled on a daily basis to replicate the size and amount of deadstock generated over the course of a full farm’s grow-out cycle.
      2. The capacity tests were repeated over several flocks to ensure we had accurate numbers for creating a capacity calculator/matrix, which has since been adopted by the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to determine the correct number of units per farm based on flock size and finish bird weight (or number of grow-out days) in connection with the agency’s cost-share program.
    3. Power consumption
      1. Power consumption was recorded daily over several flocks and under several conditions, e.g., during all four seasons and under cover versus outside and unprotected from the elements.
      2. Energy costs were higher for uncovered units and obviously varied depending on the season, but the average cost to power one unit is only 90 cents a day.  The total cost of power for the average farm (all four units) is only $92 per flock.  (See additional information for supporting documentation and charts.)
    4. Operational/maintenance aspects;
      1. It was determined that the benefits of installing the units under cover (e.g., inside a small shed or retrofitted bin composter) with a winch system to assist with emptying the units greatly outweighed the additional infrastructure costs.
      2. This greatly reduced wear and tear on the freezer component of the system during emptying, eliminated clogging of the removable filter component, as well as provided enhanced access to the unit for periodic cleaning/maintenance by a refrigeration professional.
  2. Field trials on two pilot project farms over two years regarding
    1. Freezer unit capacity
      1. After tracking two years of full farm collection/hauling data, we were able to increase the per unit capacity number in the calculator/matrix from 1,500 lbs. to 1,800 lbs., thereby reducing the number of units required per farm to satisfy that farm’s capacity needs.
    2. Quality of life issues for growers and neighbors
      1. Both farms reported improved quality of life, largely thanks to the elimination or reduction of animals, insects and smells associated with composting.
    3. Farm visitation by animals and other disease vectors
      1. Both farms reported elimination or reduction of the scavenging animals and disease-carrying insects commonly associated with composting.
    4. Operational and collection/hauling aspects
      1. With the benefit of two years of actual use in the field, we entirely re-designed the sheds used for housing the freezer units.
      2. The biggest improvements were created by turning the units so they faced each other rather than all lined up side-by-side facing outward.  (See additional information for supporting documentation and diagrams.)  This change then meant that the grower went inside the shed (and out of the elements) to load the units.  This change also provided direct access to the fork pockets, allowing for quicker emptying and replacement with a forklift.
  3. Performing literature reviews and interviews regarding
    1. Farm visitation by animals and other disease vectors
      1. More research confirming the connection between farm visitation by scavenger animals and the use of composting was recently published by the USDA National Wildlife Research Center:
        1. “Certain wildlife species may become habituated to anthropogenically modified habitats, especially those associated with abundant food resources.  Such behavior, at least in the context of multiple farms, could facilitate the movement of IAV from farm to farm if a mammal were to become infected at one farm and then travel to a second location.  …  As such, the potential intrusion of select peridomestic mammals into poultry facilities should be accounted for in biosecurity plans.”
        2. Root, J. J. et al. When fur and feather occur together: interclass transmission of avian influenza A virus from mammals to birds through common resources. Sci. Rep. 5, 14354; doi:10.1038/ srep14354 (2015) at page 6 (internal citations omitted; emphasis added).
    2. Pathogen/disease transmission,
      1. Animals and insects have long been known to be carriers of dozens of pathogens harmful to poultry – and to people.  Recently, however, the USDA National Wildlife Research Center demonstrated conclusively that mammals are not only carriers – they also can transmit avian influenza virus to birds.
        1. The study’s conclusion is particularly troubling given the number and variety of mammals and other animals that routinely visit composting sheds as demonstrated by our research using a game camera.  These same animals also routinely visit nearby waterways and other poultry farms increasing the likelihood of cross-contamination, as explained in this the video titled Farm Freezer Biosecurity Benefits.
        2. “When wildlife and poultry interact and both can carry and spread a potentially damaging agricultural pathogen, it’s cause for concern,” said research wildlife biologist Dr. Jeff Root, one of several researchers from the National Wildlife Research Center, part of the USDA-APHIS Wildlife Services program, studying the role wild mammals may play in the spread of avian influenza viruses.
    3. Biosecurity measures
      1. Every day the grower collects routine mortality and stores it inside large freezer units. After the broiler flock is caught and processed, but before the next flock is started – i.e. when no live birds are present,  a customized truck and forklift empty the freezer units and hauls away the deadstock.  During this 10- to 20- day window between flocks biosecurity is relaxed and dozens of visitors (feed trucks, litter brokers, mortality collection) are on site in preparation for the next flock.
        1. “Access will change after a production cycle,” according to a biosecurity best practices document (enclosed) from Iowa State University. “Empty buildings are temporarily considered outside of the [protected area and even] the Line of Separation is temporarily removed because there are no birds in the barn.”
    4. Nutrient management comparisons
      1. Research provided by retired extension agent Bud Malone (enclosed) provided us with the opportunity to calculate nitrogen and phosphorous numbers for on-farm mortality, and therefore, the amount of those nutrients that can be diverted from land application through the use of freezer units instead of composting.
      2. The research (contained in an enclosed presentation) also provided a comparison of the cost-effectiveness of various nutrient management BMPs – and a finding that freezing and recycling is about 90% more efficient than the average of all other ag BMPs in reducing phosphorous.
    5. Quality of life issues for growers and neighbors
      1. Local and county governments in several states have been compiling a lot of research on the various approaches for ensuring farmers and their residential neighbors can coexist peacefully.
      2. Many of the complaints have focused on the unwanted scavenger animals, including buzzards/vultures, raccoons, foxes and feral cats, as well as the smells associated with composting.
      3. The concept of utilizing sealed freezer collection units to eliminate the smells and animals associated with composting is being considered by some government agencies as an alternative to instituting deeper and deeper setbacks from property lines, which make farming operations more difficult and costly.

Future Plans

We see more work on three fronts:

  • First, we’ll continue to do monitoring and testing locally so that we may add another year or two of data to the time frames utilized initially.
  • Second, we are actively working to develop new more profitable uses for the deadstock (alternatives to rendering) that could one day further reduce the cost of mortality management for the grower.
  • Lastly, as two of the biggest advantages of this practice – biosecurity and nutrient management – garner more attention nationwide, our hope would be to see more thorough university-level research into each of the otherwise disparate topics that we were forced to cobble together to develop a broad, initial understanding of this BMP.

Corresponding author (name, title, affiliation)

Victor Clark, Co-Founder & Vice President, Legal and Government Affairs, Farm Freezers LLC and Greener Solutions LLC

Corresponding author email address

victor@farmfreezers.com

Other Authors

Terry Baker, Co-Founder & President, Farm Freezers LLC and Greener Solutions LLC

Additional Information

https://rendermagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Render_Oct16.pdf

Farm Freezer Biosecurity Benefits

One Night in a Composting Shed

www.farmfreezers.com

Transmission Pathways

Avian flu conditions still evolving (editorial)

USDA NRCS Conservation fact sheet Poultry Freezers

Nature.com When fur and feather occur together: interclass transmission of avian influenza A virus from mammals to birds through common resources

How Does It Work? (on-farm freezing)

Influenza infections in wild raccoons (CDC)

Collection Shed Unit specifications

Collection Unit specifications

Freezing vs Composting for Biosecurity (Render magazine)

Manure and spent litter management: HPAI biosecurity (Iowa State University)

Acknowledgements

Bud Malone, retired University of Delaware Extension poultry specialist and owner of Malone Poultry Consulting

Bill Brown, University of Delaware Extension poultry specialist, poultry grower and Delmarva Poultry Industry board member

Delaware Department of Agriculture

Delaware Nutrient Management Commission

Delaware Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service

Maryland Office of the Natural Resources Conservation Service

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Spotlight on Manure Management in North Carolina and the Atlantic Coastal Plains


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Purpose 

To provide information about commonly-found manure management systems and approaches in North Carolina and the Coastal Plains, and discuss opportunities for technological innovation in the areas of manure management and nutrient recovery/utilization. Hear from a diverse panel of researchers, animal agriculture producers, and agency representatives who will provide background on the environmental conditions of the region and discuss specific technical considerations for innovative research and development. Learn about what has and hasn’t worked in past attempts to recover nutrients at animal agriculture farms in the area, and about the exciting possibilities for innovation in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) Nutrient Recycling Challenge (www.nutrientrecyclingchallenge.org).

What did we do? 

N/A

What have we learned? 

N/A

Future Plans 

N/A

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation 

Joseph Ziobro, Physical Scientist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; Hema Subramanian, Environmental Protection Specialist, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Corresponding author email 

ziobro.joseph@epa.gov; subramanian.hema@epa.gov

Other authors

Dr. John Classen, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, College of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University

Dr. Kelly Zering, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, North Carolina State University

Additional information

Session Agenda

  1. Background, history, and technical information about manure management in North Carolina and the Coastal Plains

Presenter: Dr. John Classen, Associate Professor and Director of Graduate Programs, College of Biological and Agricultural Engineering at North Carolina State University

  1. Lessons Learned from the Smithfield Agreement

Presenter: Dr. Kelly Zering, Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics, North Carolina State University

  1. Panel: Challenges and Opportunities around Manure Management Systems

Moderator: Hema Subramanian

Panel to include the above speakers plus representatives from the local animal agriculture industry, North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 

Results of Nutrient Recovery System Installed on Large Scale Dairy Operation After 2-years of Operation


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*Do not make slides downloadable

Purpose 

For centuries, farmers have disposed of manure by simply spreading it on the land. It is a natural fertilizer. Today, that practice is no longer considered the best solution. Field spreading is now understood to contribute to a growing global problem of the pollution of water, soil, and air. Consequently, U.S. dairy farmers face increased fiscal and operational pressure from the progression of ever tightening environmental regulations. Conventional handling of manure also imposes a number of operational challenges (limitations for storage, land application and irrigation, settlement in lagoons, high manure hauling costs, etc.) and typically requires a relatively large land base to allow adequate nutrient management.

In Indiana, a dairy that was daily producing thousands of tons of livestock waste was investigating how technology could capture the valuable nutrients remaining in their cow manure after it had gone through the farm’s anaerobic digestion process. Their goal was to convert the manure/digestate into a nutrient rich cake that could be easier managed and made into fertilizer, and the liquid clean enough to be used unrestricted for land application.

The farm’s key operational deliverables were 1) to reduce the manure’s handling and transportation costs, 2) allow for precision applications of the processed manure as carbon-based fertilizer and 3) allow for re-use of nutrient reduced liquid for field irrigation.

What did we do? 

The dairy farm chose to implement a nutrient recovery technology from Trident Processes LLC. The technology separates the manure/digestate into three fractions: 1) cellulosic fiber, 2) a concentrated cake of nutrient enriched solids, and 3) water with about 1% remaining solids.

Trident’s turn-key system, consisting of different mechanical and chemical components, processes the manure and diverts each separated fraction into their separate spaces. Sensors and programmable controls (PLC) allow for smooth operation, requiring minimal operator attendance. The entire system can be monitored, controlled and diagnosed remotely.

The manure is fed into the system following the digestion process. The initial step is the extraction of the large fiber, which is done via a rotary screen conditioner. The wetted material separates, with the effluent water and fine solids sifting down through the screen while the larger fiber is retained. This step is critical as it ensures the fine particles, which contain the nutrients, are sent down stream for further treatment.

FIBER: The extracted fiber is sent to a screw press for further dewatering. This renders it as a 30% dry cellulosic fiber biomass that is ideal for recycling as cow bedding or other biomass use. Any liquid squeezed from the fiber is diverted to join the fine solids stream.

SOLIDS: The effluent water and solids are sent to a dissolved air flotation (DAF) tank. Polymerization ensures effective flocculation of the feedstock, resulting in a concentration of the nutrient rich particles that float to the surface. The sludge formed on the surface is skimmed off the top and gravity fed into a multi-disc press for second-stage dewatering. The press gently dewaters and thickens the recovered solid/nutrient sludge into a 25% solids, nutrient rich cake.

WATER: The final effluent water, now nutrient reduced, contains less than 1.2% solids and is sent to the lagoon for storage. The water is then reused for irrigation through efficient pivot systems or as operational water on the farm.

What have we learned? 

By implementing Trident’s Nutrient Recovery System, the farms’ objectives have been met and/or exceeded. After running for nearly two years the system is producing the following statistics:

• Fully automated operation requiring about 1 hr/shift for operator attendance (visual checks)

• 98% system uptime

• Polymer costs: $0.06 – $0.08/day/cow

• Reduction of handling and irrigation costs: $ 0.01/gal (conventional) vs $0.003/gal (center pivot)

• $250,000/yr electrical power savings with MD Press vs. centrifuge

• 73,000+ ton/yr nutrient cake produced

• 81% P, 70% organic N (54% TKN), and 20% K is the average nutrient capture rate

• 1% (max.) solids in the effluent water sent to lagoons

• 99% Suspended solids captured

Future Plans 

Dairy farm: A fertilizer plant will go live in the near future, allowing the farm to sell their concentrated nutrients to the plant as feedstock for custom fertilizer production.

Technology provider: 2nd Phase effluent treatment to capture and retain the solid and nutrient fraction of the existing process, allowing to meet stream discharge standards and comply with BOD / COD levels. Bench scale testing is completed. Farm scale pilot testing is scheduled to run from March 2017-December 2017.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation       

Richard Shatto (Senior Partner at Point Nexus Consulting), Frank Engel (Director Marketing at KPD Consulting Ltd.)

Corresponding author email 

frank.engel@kpdconsulting.ca

Additional information 

https://youtu.be/PvaTGmyws-w (Carl Ramsey’s presentation at Indiana Dairy Forum)

http://www.progressivedairy.com/topics/manure/prairie-s-edge-dairy-on-pa… (Progressive Dairyman article)

http://tridentprocesses.com/documents/case-study-trident-nutrient-recove… (Newtrient case study)

https://are.wisc.edu/manure-processing/ (manure management project with University of Wisconsin)

http://www.foodqualityandsafety.com/article/nutrient-recovery-improves-s… (Nutrient Recovery Improves Sustainability article in Food Quality & Safety Magazine)

Acknowledgements       

Carl Ramsey, Environmental Manager at Prairie’s Edge Dairy Farm

Soil Net LLC, Dr. Aicardo Roa (strategic partner for chemical separation process)

Leap Tech, R.C. Ludke (strategic partner for automation)

Developing a Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP)

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Purpose

Livestock producers are presented with a number of challenges and opportunities. Developing a quality Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plan (CNMP) can effectively help landowners address natural resource concerns related to soil erosion, water quality, and air quality from manure management. As livestock operations continue to expand and concentrate in certain parts of the country, utilizing a CNMP becomes even more important. Following the NRCS 9-step planning process is critical in developing a good plan. Effective communication is a key element between all parties involved in the planning process. A CNMP documents the decisions made by the landowner for the farmstead area, crop and pasture area, and nutrient management. Information will cover the elements essential for developing a quality CNMP.

What did we do?

Since the CNMP documents the records of decisions by the landowner, it has to be organized in such a fashion that it is understandable to and usable by the landowner. The CNMP is the landowner’s plan. Therefore, the role of the planner is to help landowners do the things that will most benefit them and the resources in the long run. This will take both time and effort. To provide consistency with other conservation planning efforts within NRCS, CNMPs following the same process outlined in the National Planning Procedures Handbook. There are several items that are essential for a quality CNMP to be developed:

• Have a good understanding of potential resource concerns especially soil erosion, water quality and air quality.

• Make the appropriate number of site visits. Trying to do this from the office will likely lead to a poor quality CNMP that may not be implemented.

• Address resource concerns for the Farmstead and Crop and Pasture areas.

• Ensure that all nutrient sources are addressed.

• Follow the 9 steps of planning.

• Decisions are agreed upon by the landowner. The CNMP reflects the landowner’s record of decisions.

• Follow-up to address any questions or concerns.

• Update as necessary. A CNMP is not a static document.

Field

Land application of animal manure without proper land treatment practices

Muddy field with standing water

Proper animal manure storage required to address water quality issues

Picture of lined water bed

Evaluation of storage area to adequately address surface and subsurface
water quality issues

Picture of tractor and tanker spreader

Land application and nutrient management are critical elements for a
properly prepared CNMP

What have we learned?

The quality of CNMPs varies greatly across the country. Some were becoming so large that landowners were having difficulty finding the activities that needed to be completed. The revised CNMP format and process following the NRCS Conservation Planning approach should improve both the quality and usability of the plans developed. Due to statutes in the Farm Bill, all conservation practices recorded in the record of decision of the CNMP, whether receiving financial assistance or not, must be implemented by the end of the established contract period between the landowner and NRCS. Therefore it is important to only include the practices that are going to be implemented. CNMPs should be periodically updated to account for operational changes such as animal numbers, cropping systems, or land application methods.

Future Plans

The CNMP planning process will be evaluated to determine whether landowner objectives are being met and resource concerns properly addressed. Additional evaluations will look at the consistency of the plans generated across the country and the usability by landowners.

Corresponding author, title, and affiliation

Jeffrey P. Porter, P.E.; National Animal Manure and Nutrient Management Team Leader, USDA-Natural Resources Conservation Service

Corresponding author email

jeffrey.porter@gnb.usda.gov

Additional information

References

USDA-NRCS General Manual – Title 190, Part 405 – Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans

USDA-NRCS Handbooks – Title 180, Part 600 – National Planning Procedures Handbook

Code of Federal Register (CFR) Title 7, Part 1466 – Environmental Quality Incentives Program (1466.7 EQIP Plan of Operations and 1466.21 Contract Requirements)

Webinar

Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans and the Planning Process – http://www.conservationwebinars.net/webinars/comprehensive-nutrient-management-plans-and-the-planning-process/?searchterm=cnmp

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2017. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Cary, NC. April 18-21, 2017. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Pathways for Effective Manure Nutriment Management Information Sharing and Education Between Agriculture Professionals: A South Dakota Pilot Test


Why Look at Barriers in Nutrient Management Information Flow?

 

The issue of manure nutrient management has been the subject of controversy and new policies in recent years as the non-point source discharge of nutrients and bacteria is substantial if manure is not managed properly. Unfortunately, there are barriers between organizations and individuals that prevent the flow of important, timely information between audience types and limits the impact and usefulness of research results. These barriers may be in the form of institutional language differences, job descriptions, or a mismatch between information outputs and inputs.

What did we do?

A national team of researchers, Extension specialists, consultants and government staff developed a survey to quantify the role, programming, and barriers to information flow between organizations and individuals regarding manure nutrient management. The electronic survey was disseminated via cooperating agencies, organizations and personal contacts to technical service providers, producers, university personnel, regulatory personnel, private sales or service enterprises and other professionals who contribute to manure nutrient management in South Dakota. Respondents were asked to indicate the relevance of information sources (inputs), information products (outputs) and collaborators (links), as well as barriers to their use. The relevance selections were transformed into scalar data and an analysis of variance was performed on the average relevance scores to test for differences based on input/output/link type and organization type.

What have we learned?

There were 139 surveys started, and 80 surveys completed. Data from partially completed surveys were, however, included in the analysis. The main categories of self-identified respondents were NRCS (n=36), Producers (n=29), University personnel (n=15) and Regulatory personnel (n=9). The remaining categories respondents were grouped into an Other category (n=22). The average relevance score for each of the information sources, information products and collaborations listed in the survey were consistent (no significant difference between organization types). As sources of information, consultation, eXtension and field days were ranked most relevant, with classroom and social media being least relevant. Similarly, consultation, field days and eXtension were ranked the most relevant means of sharing information; social media was ranked least relevant. Barriers to information sources and products were specific to the activity or product. The select ion “No barriers to use” was not an indicator of relevance. All organization types deemed producers the most relevant collaborator, followed by state, university and federal agencies.

Future Plans

The South Dakota-based survey was a pilot test for a nationwide survey being conducted in 2015. From feedback and data review, the survey has been refined and shortened to elicit the key input, output and collaborator data. With the national data in hand later in 2015, the project team looks forward to linking information producers and users in effective pathways for manure nutrient management information transmission, and ultimately, adoption.

Authors

Erin Cortus, Assistant Professor and Environmental Quality Engineer at South Dakota State University erin.cortus@sdstate.edu

Nichole Embertson, Nutrient Management Specialist, Sustainable Livestock Production Program, Whatcom Conservation District; Jeffrey Jacquet, Assistant Professor, Sociology and Rural Studies, South Dakota State University

Additional information

Anyone interested in participating on the Pathways Project team are invited to contact Erin Cortus (erin.cortus@sdstate.edu) or Nichole Embertson (NEmbertson@whatcomcd.org).

Acknowledgements

The nationwide team who contribute to and guide the Pathways project are gratefully acknowledged. Funding provided through the South Dakota SARE Mini-Grant Program supported data collection and analysis for the survey pilot test.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

 

Identify and Synthesize Methods to Refine Phosphorus Indices from Three Regional Indexing Efforts

Purpose

This project was started to work with regional CIG projects to calibrate and harmonize Phosphorus Indices across the U.S., demonstrate their accuracy in identifying the magnitude and extent of phosphorus loss risk, and provide suggestions to refine or improve existing Indices. This research is important to provide consistency among state Phosphorus Indices and their subsequent recommendations.  

What did we do?

We will combine and compare results from each of the four regional and state Phosphorus Index CIG-funded projects, in order to synthesize, summarize, and describe the science-based information and lessons learned from the individual Phosphorus Index assessment projects (i.e., Chesapeake Bay Watershed, Heartland Region, Southern States and Ohio Lake Erie Basin) and build a harmonized framework that yields consistent Phosphorus-based risk assessment across the U.S. by doing this, we plan to ensure that the refinement of Phosphorus Indices is grounded in the best available science, reflects local environmental and agronomic conditions, anticipates impacts to water quality and farm management, and provides consistent recommendations within and across varied physiographic regions of the U.S.

What have we learned?

Despite the success of the Phosphorus Index concept in state-level nutrient management planning strategies as part of the NRCS 590 Standard, there remain concerns about the effectiveness of the Indexing approach for attaining water quality goals. Different versions of the Phosphorus Index have emerged to account for regional differences in soil types, land management, climate, physiographic and hydrologic controls, manure management strategies, and policy conditions. Along with this development, differences in Phosphorus Index manure management recommendations under relatively similar site conditions have also emerged. To date, we have learned that the individual projects with slightly differing objectives have shown there to be a paucity of field measured runoff, against which to reliably compare Index performance. Thus, several off-the shelf and pre-calibrated models (e.g., APEX) were tested to provide adequate phosphorus runoff information to validate Indices. Use of off-the-shelf models can provide unreliable estimates of phosphorus runoff, while calibrate models can provide more reliable estimates when given adequate site information.

Future Plans

It is planned to have extend the research for one more year to the end of 2016 to continue model assessment, compile field runoff databases, conduct statistical and uncertainty analyses, and compile cross project findings.

Authors

Andrew Sharpley, Distinguished Professor, Division of Agriculture University of Arkansas System sharpley@uark.edu

Deanna Osmond, Professor and Soil Science Department Extension Leader; David Radcliff, Professor; Peter Kleinman, Research Leader; Doug Beegle, Distinguished Professor of Agronomy; John Lory, Associate Professor of Extension; and Nathan Nelson, Professor.

Additional information

Sharpley, A.N., D. Beegle, C. Bolster, L. Good, B. Joern, Q. Ketterings, J. Lory, R. Mikkelsen, D. Osmond, and P. Vadas. 2011. Revision of the 590 Nutrient Management Standard: SERA-17 Recommendations. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin No. 412. Published by SERA-IEG-17, Virginia Tech. University, Blacksburg, VA. Available at https://sera17dotorg.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/590-sera-17-recommendations.pdf 2011.

Sharpley, A.N., D. Beegle, C. Bolster, L. Good, B. Joern, Q. Ketterings, J. Lory, R. Mikkelsen, D. Osmond, and P. Vadas. 2011. Revision of the 590 Nutrient Management Standard: SERA-17 Supporting Documentation. Southern Cooperative Series Bulletin No. 412. Published by SERA-IEG-17, Virginia Tech. University, Blacksburg, VA. Available at https://sera17dotorg.files.wordpress.com/2015/02/590-sera-17-recommendations.pdf

Sharpley, A.N., D.G. Beegle, C. Bolster, L.W. Good, B. Joern, Q. Ketterings, J. Lory, R. Mikkelsen, D. Osmond, and P.A. Vadas. 2012. Phosphorus indices: Why we need to take stock of how we are doing. J. Environ. Qual. 41:1711-1718.

Osmond, D.L., A.N. Sharpley, C. Bolster, M. Cabrera, S. Feagley, B. Lee, C. Mitchell, R. Mylavarapu, L. Oldham, F. Walker, and H. Zhang. 2012. Comparing phosphorus indices from twelve southern USA states against monitored phosphorus loads from six prior southern studies. J. Environ. Qual. 41:1741-1750.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

 

 

Relationship between Surface Waters and Underlying Stream and Ditch Sediment in Selected Eagle Creek Tributaries


Why are stream and ditch sediment important to water quality?

Best management strategies implemented in most watersheds to reduce phosphorus (P) loads to surface waters have been successful, however, internal P loading within streams and ditches may still provide P to overlying water. Phosphorus retention and release by sediments is important for understanding sediment P status and buffering capacity and for determining the potential environmental fate of sediment bound P in flowing water systems.

What did we do?

Eight headwater streams and drainage ditches within Eagle Creek Watershed in central Indiana were selected to evaluate soluble P (SP). Stream and drainage ditch water and sediment were collected monthly from 8 selected locations within the Eagle Creek watershed in central Indiana for two consecutive years to estimate if there were any seasonal and/or land use trends. Sediments and water were analyzed for soluble P, and 24-hour P isotherms were performed to determine the P sorption capacity and to calculate the equilibrium P concentration (EPC0). The relationship between  EPC0 and SP in the water column allows for the prediction of the potential for sediments to either release P to or retain P from the water column.

What have we learned? 

Surface water P concentrations varied seasonally and were consistently greater during summer (P<0.05). Surface water SP concentrations increased with the percentage of land classified as urban (P<0.0001). Generally, we observed lower P concentrations in sediment during summer and greater P concentrations during winter and spring. We also observed greater P concentrations in areas that had a greater percentage of land used for agriculture and in some cases, sub-catchment area influenced the P content that was observed. Sediment EPC0 concentrations were not related to water column SP, however, when sediments were separated as ‘sinks’(r = 0.49) or ‘sources’(r = 0.65), a strong correlation was found between sediment EPC0 and water column SP (P<0.0001).

Future Plans    

Information from this study will assist managers and planners in targeting areas with the greatest potential for loss of P from sediments to overlying water. These results will also assist in improving nutrient criteria thresholds for the watershed.

Authors      

Candiss O. Williams, Research Soil Scientist, USDA NRCS Kellogg National Soil Survey Laboratory & Research Candiss.Williams@lin.usda.gov

Brad Joern, Professor, Department of Agronomy, Purdue University Douglas R. Smith, Research Soil Scientist, USDA ARS Grassland, Soil, and Water Research Laboratory

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Small to Mid-Sized Dairies: Making Compact Anaerobic Digestion Feasible

Why Consider Small or Medium Digester Projects?

Anaerobic digestion (AD) is an environmentally-friendly manure management process that can generate renewable energy and heat, mitigate odors, and create sustainable by-products such as bedding or fertilizer for dairies and farmers. However, due to economics, a majority of commercially available AD technologies have been implemented on large farming operations. Since the average herd size of dairies across the country is below 200 head of milking cows, there is a need for small-scale AD systems to serve this market.

eucolino allen farmsWhat did we do?

The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, in collaboration with BIOFerm™ Energy Systems, installed the EUCOlino—a small-scale, mixed, plug-flow digester—onto on a 136 milking head Wisconsin Dairy. The system is pre-manufactured, containerized and requires very limited on-site construction.   This includes grading, pouring a concrete pad for the containers and electrical services installation.

Start-up and commissioning were performed after the delivery of the 64 kWe combined heat and power (CHP). The input materials consist of bedded-pack dairy manure (corn or bean stover and straw), parlor wash water, and minor additional substrates such as lactose or fats, oils, and grease.

Solid materials are dumped via bucket tractor into a hopper feeder system that uses an auger to feed substrate into the anaerobic digestion tank. Additional parlor water is piped directly into the anaerobic digestion tank and mixed with the solids to make a feedstock of approximately 13% total solids. The solids are fed hourly, which is controlled by the PLC system.

The digester has a ~30-day retention time and the biogas produced is stored in a bag above the fermenters. Biogas produced is conditioned and combusted in a CHP mounted on a separate skid. Effluent from the system is pumped directly to an open pit lagoon for storage and subsequently land applied as fertilizer. The system produces approximately 25 – 33 m3/hour of biogas, with a raw biogas quality of 52-60% CH4 and less than 700 ppm H2S.

concrete pads for installation
installation
input

What have we learned?

This project has been an important step forward in developing future small-scale anaerobic digesters across the U.S.  Notably, our installation has given us insight into balancing system economics with the size of small-scale models; the energy output of the system must exceed pre-processing energy requirements and the digester must still be large enough for the designed residence time. Our experience has shown that, while reducing the size of a digester, these requirements remain essential for an installation to economically make sense.

Additionally, challenges involved in AD at the small-scale are related to pre-processing or feedstock conveyance. Once suitable consistence or size for conveyance, anaerobically digesting the organic fraction can be relatively easy. Inconsistency of incoming feedstocks is very detrimental to the system’s stability. Additionally, exterior feedstock storage and above ground piping can limit processing potential when severe cold weather settles in. While all of these are challenges that are easily overcome with engineering, they come at a cost and that can make or break the economics at this scale.

Future Plans

For the small-scale EUCOlino to be effective in the United States, it is key to establishing a U.S.- based manufacturing location. Pre-processing needs to be well-suited to the incoming feedstock. Post-digestion products need established off-takers, for electricity generation, bedding, fertilizer, etc.

Authors

Steven Sell, Manager Application Engineer, BIOFerm™ Energy Systems beaw@biofermenergy.com

Whitney Beadle, Marketing Communications, BIOFerm™ Energy Systems

Additional information

The following publications offer additional information on the Allen Farms digester:

Readers interested in this topic can also visit our website for more information on the Allen Farms digester and other BIOFerm projects. We can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.

Low-Power Aerators Combined with Center Pivot Manure Application at a Northeast Nebraska Hog Finishing Facility Created an Easy to Manage, Turn-Key System

trnkey animal waste management systemApplying livestock manure from lagoon storage through center pivot irrigation has long been considered a low-labor, uniform method of application that can deliver nutrients in-season to a growing crop. Three challenges with this system have been odor, pivot nozzle clogging and loss of nitrogen. A new innovation in lagoon treatment addresses these challenges. Low-power circulators were installed at a Northeast Nebraska commercial hog finishing facility and used to aerate the lagoon by moving oxygen-rich water and beneficial microbes to the bottom of the lagoon, reducing odor and potent greenhouse gases while lowering disease pathogen risk. This process preserved nitrogen and made it 40-60% more available in the first year of application. Circulation also reduced lagoon solids and bottom sludge, resulting in reduced agitation and dredging expense. Having a continuously well-mixed lagoon facilitated accurate manure nutrient sampling and consistent nutrient concentration delivery to the irrigation system. Combined with the ease of calibration of the center pivots, precision uniform nutrient application was achieved. Center pivot application had several additional advantages over tractor-based systems: less soil compaction, optimal nutrient timing during plant growth, higher uniformity, lower labor and energy costs, and eliminating impact on public roads. The circulators combined with flush barns and center pivot irrigation creates a complete turn-key manure management system.

Do Circulators Make a Difference in Liquid Manure Storage?

pumping nutrients from lagoon on korus pig siteThe purpose of the project was to evaluate the effectiveness of low powered circulators to treat livestock waste in lagoons. The objective was to evaluate how the addition of circulators to a livestock pond would change: 1. Odor levels, 2. Pivot nozzle clogging problems, and 3. Nitrogen loss.

What did we do?

A demonstration was conducted by installing five circulators on a lagoon receiving manure from a 3000 pig finisher facility. The lagoon is owned by a Lindsay customer that was already pumping the top water from the pond through pivots, but was having difficulty with plugging nozzles and was hiring a commercial pumper to agitate and pump solids. The circulators were installed in May of 2013. Starting with the day of installation and each month after through November 2013, effluent lab samples were collected, photos of the pond and effluent were taken, and odor level estimated.

comparison of manure application systems

report from Korus farm
table of report from Korus farms

The effluent was pumped through pivots where odor and nozzle clogging problems were evaluated on August 15th and December 2nd of 2013. The pond was refilled with fresh water, circulated for a few days, and re-pumped right after the August 15th event so more of the nutrients could be utilized by the crops.

What have we learned?

The benefits of using aerobic lagoons with livestock waste have been known for many years. The challenge has been finding a cost effective and reliable method to facilitate the process. The cost to run all five circulators was about $3300 per year figuring $0.10 per kWh.

The circulators facilitated the following changes in the pond:

  • Reduced dry matter in effluent to <0.4%-starting at 0.57% and ending at 0.37%
  • Greatly reduced hog hair and soybean hulls caught in the filter resulting in virtually eliminating nozzle and pressure regulator clogging on the pivot
  • Reduced solids and bottom sludge-sonar indicated a 5+ ft reduction in bottom solids in 5 months
  • Doubled 1st year availability of nitrogen-%NH4 to total N was >80% compared to average book values of 40%
  • Greatly reduced offensive manure odor-downwind from pivot applying effluent, very little odor was observed
  • Reduced disease pathogens-Total Coliform went 11,000 to 30 CFU/g & Escherichia coli went from 460 to <10 CFU/g
  • Reduced flies-virtually eliminated floating solids and fly habitat on the pond
  • Reduced severe greenhouse gasses (GHGs)
  • Generated safer and lower odor water to recycled back through the barn for manure removal

Future Plans

We would like to continue evaluating the system for more precise odor reduction ratings, nitrogen preservation during pond storage, and affect on disease pathogens.

Author

Steve Melvin, Irrigation Applications Specialist, Lindsay steve.melvin@lindsay.com

Additional information

Call Steve Melvin at 402-829 6815 for additional information.

The authors are solely responsible for the content of these proceedings. The technical information does not necessarily reflect the official position of the sponsoring agencies or institutions represented by planning committee members, and inclusion and distribution herein does not constitute an endorsement of views expressed by the same. Printed materials included herein are not refereed publications. Citations should appear as follows. EXAMPLE: Authors. 2015. Title of presentation. Waste to Worth: Spreading Science and Solutions. Seattle, WA. March 31-April 3, 2015. URL of this page. Accessed on: today’s date.