Dickson Farms, a dairy farm located in Bath, N.Y., was in need of a sustainable method of manure treatment that also was cost-effective.
Livestock Water Recycling Inc. (LWR) provided a reverse osmosis system that treats the manure, resulting in a zero-discharge, closed-loop operation. By recycling clean water, the farm is able to maintain a stable source of water for its day-to-day operations.
Before implementing the system, manure from various samples was tested to ensure the process would work based on the manure composition. Installation was completed in August 2012 after six months of planning and construction. The system—LWR’s first U.S. dairy farm installation—routinely is monitored to ensure obstacles are identified and addressed in a timely fashion to keep operating costs low.
During the treatment process, manure-rich water is pumped into an equalization tank. Solids are separated from liquids, and then can be used as fertilizer elsewhere on the farm. The water then undergoes a fine particle filtration process, separating the liquid from smaller solids, which settle at the bottom of the tank.
The water then is passed through the membrane system, removing nutrients and ammonium. The ammonium is concentrated and used as a liquid fertilizer. The end result is clean effluent that can be reused for irrigation or elsewhere around the farm. The process eliminates potential groundwater contamination from runoff and reduces costs associated with manure handling.
“Any time we are able to close a waste loop, the environment wins,” said Ross Thurston, president of LWR. “There is an ongoing need for a complete manure treatment solution in order to alleviate potential groundwater contamination from nutrient runoff and reduce expensive manure handling costs.”