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Project ID: 2006AZ160B

Title: Advanced Biotechnology for Recycling Dairy Wastewater

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 02/28/2007

Congressional District: 5, 6

Focus Categories: Nutrients, Treatment, Water Quality

Keywords: wastewater, nutrient removal, microalgae, photobioreactor, bioremediation

Principal Investigators: Hu, Qiang; Sommerfeld, Milton

Federal Funds: $12,600

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $46,581

Abstract: Concentrated dairy feeding operations (CDFO), which consist of over 130,000 dairy cows, represent a major agriculture sector in Arizona and generate over $1 billion in annual sales. At the same time, the concentrated dairy feeding operations are large water consumers and waste nutrient (such as nitrogen and phosphorous) producers, and represent one of the major sources of potential nutrient contamination in surface waters and groundwater. Facultative lagoons and land application are the standard nutrient management methods used by dairy operators, but these methods can not prevent waste nutrients from entering aquatic environments or ground water. More effective water conservation practices are sought to remove waste nutrients from dairy wastewater and to recycle the treated water on the farm. The goal of this proposed research project is to develop an advanced microalgal biotechnology that can be integrated into existing nutrient management practices to treat dairy wastewater and to bring it to below USEPA limits for reuse on the farm. The biological principle behind this technology is that photosynthetic microalgae use solar energy to rapidly assimilate nitrogen and phosphorous. A cost-effective photobioreactor will further enhance this biological process and make it economically feasible and environmentally sound. The major objectives of the proposed research are to: 1) evaluate maximum sustainable nutrient uptake potential by isolated microalgal strains growing in dairy wastewater; and 2) construct a novel large-scale column photobioreactor and demonstrate its effectiveness in removing nutrients from wastewater so that the treated water can be recycled. If the proposed project is successful, a full-scale photobioreactor facility will be developed on a dairy farm or a farm cluster within two years to implement the water conservation and nutrient management practice.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Friday, December 07, 2007
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