10/10/04 — New hog waste technology developed

View Archive

New hog waste technology developed

By Sam Atkins
Published in News on October 10, 2004 2:09 AM

MAURY -- A new technology would save farmers money when handling their hog waste, conserve water, and eliminate lagoons and spray fields, say its developers.

Don Lloyd, general manager of Environmental Technologies LLC, said he has developed a system that is low-cost, simple, farmer-friendly and does not require an operator.

"Our system is going to revolutionize the industry," he said.

He received a $122,000 grant, which is part of a $17.3 million research effort funded by Smithfield Foods and Premium Standard Farms. The two companies reached an agreement with the North Carolina attorney general in 2000, and the goal is to identify and evaluate alternative swine waste-management technologies that are more environmentally friendly than the current lagoon and spray field system used to treat waste on most swine farms.

Lloyd's project is one of 18 being funded. It is on a farm in Greene County with three hog houses. Each of the houses has two 400-gallon flush tanks in front that feed water into the houses every six hours to wash out the hog waste.

At the typical hog farm, after being washed out, the waste would go through a pipe at the back of the building and into a nearby lagoon.

The new system intercepts the waste stream and collects it in a tank. The waste is pumped into a separator, which separates out the solid waste. The liquid waste goes into a new building to be processed. Nothing goes into the lagoon, he said.

In the building, the liquid waste goes into one of two tanks. A patented polymer and TCM sanitizer is added. The polymer grabs any leftover solids and pulls them to the bottom of the tank and that material goes through an irrigation system.

Some of the pathogen-free and odorless liquid goes to fill up the flush tanks in front of the houses and some goes to a NORWECO system, which purifies the water. The purified water goes into a third tank in the building where some fresh water from a well is added. That water is used for the hog's drinking water.

The process saves roughly two-thirds of the water used from the artesian well, said Lloyd. Around 6,000 gallons of water per day is taken from the well for the hogs and they maintain 1,200 gallons per day inside their bodies. That means there are 4,800 extra gallons of liquid, which is cleaned and sanitized as drinking water for the hogs. Lloyd plans on composting the solid waste and making a Class A fertilizer out of it.

The current way of handling waste costs a farmer $80 for 1,000 pounds of live hogs. The new system would cost $49 per 1,000 pounds, he said.

Lloyd said the entire system would cost around $150,000 to construct, depending on the size of farm. The electrical cost is $150 per month, and the TCM and polymer cost around $600 per month. The system can be operated manually or by computer.

Lloyd has spent the last 10 years developing various systems by trial and error. Two of them were too expensive and required a lot of maintenance. This one can be adapted to any type of farm, he said.

Once he decided this was the best and most efficient system, he submitted the plans, which were approved by the N.C. Department of Environmental and Natural Resources.

Front-line Farmers, an organization made up of independent swine farmers, also entered into the five-year agreement with the attorney general in 2002 and agreed to work to develop and implement new technologies. This technology, located five miles outside of Maury, N.C, is on a farm owned by a Front-line member. Sustainable N.C., along with Front-line, helped get the grant for Environmental Technologies, said Lloyd.

Lloyd said their main objective is to get the technology more well-known and accepted by farmers. They hope to find someone who can mass produce it.

"Everybody who has looked at this has been blown away," said Thomas Demmy, who is helping to market the technology with Lloyd.