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Project ID: 2006MO67B

Title: Low Rate Mixing and Struvite Precipitation: Paired Treatment for Swine Waste

Project Type: Research

Start Date: 03/01/2006

End Date: 02/28/2007

Congressional District: 9th

Focus Categories: Agriculture, Water Quality, Education

Keywords: Agriculture, Water Quality, Phosphorous, Swine Production Facilities, Low Rate Mixing, Struvite Precipitation, Waste Water Treatment Technologies

Principal Investigator: Burken, Joel

Federal Funds: $22,000

Non-Federal Matching Funds: $53,080

Abstract: Agriculture is important to Missouri, as is the quality of our waters and overall environment. While both are important, the two are far from fully compatible as they now stand. In addition, the impacts on water quality flows well beyond Missouri's boarders, and these impacts clearly impair the economic livelihood and of others. In addition to our own states' desire to "Do the right thing," legislation is in place and developing further to address these down stream impacts in particular.

Regarding the water quality issues, phosphorous is noted among most problematic constituents both to Missouri's water resources and nationally. Furthermore, swine productions facilities are the largest contributor amongst agricultural sources, which overall comprise the biggest source of fugitive phosphorous. In general phosphorous is left untreated currently. This proposal targets to address these issues using the pairing of two technologies that have demonstrated promise on their own: low rate mixing and struvite precipitation. Recent research activities on each identified a synergy that was not anticipated nor included in the previous experiments. Low rate mixing changed lagoon properties to favor struvite precipitation to the point of causing spontaneous precipitation (to an unknown extent). This discovery was quite accidental. This precipitation reaction may in fact be sustainable at low rates with very little additional alteration to the existing mixer design, already on the market. In separate experiments, the chemistry of controlled struvite precipitation was shown to be a closer than previously published to the chemistry in treated anaerobic lagoon effluent. Rectors designed to treat this waste may only need slight pH adjustment (0.3 - 0.5 units) and minimal Mg addition to make this reaction occur rapidly and efficiently. The pairing of the two now seems obvious, but only though two studies that were fortuitously done as part of a bigger study did the pairing become so clearly beneficial. The previous study also lead to the analytical methods, existing infrastructure (experimental equipment) and collaborations being in place to take the next step to show the technological approaches hypothesized herein are viable. Additionally, future funding measures have been identified to take the findings of this study, which hopefully confirm the hypotheses, to the next step in implementation. The USDA SBIR solicitation slated is not only timely, but also at the right level to advance findings of this study. This solicitation is targeting small business research to develop (Phase I) and then market and produce (Phase II) sustainable animal waste treatment technologies. Essentially, the base science and experience are in place and complete, this specific proposal will provide the engineering and application insight, and the USDA solicitation is set to make full development possible.

The potential impact for Missouri is substantial. Not only does this research target improving our water resources, but also targets helping one of our leading industries remain competitive nationwide by reducing the costs associated with meeting future regulations. Additionally, at least three students will be trained at a premier educational institute, and their training will include understanding a critical issue in the state and the country. Their future contributions in these areas might be quite substantial, but can not be estimated. An easily overlooked partner in this is the small business collaborator that has made a real, measurable monetary investment in this work and, more importantly, in the goals on which this research is founded.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey
Maintained by: John Schefter
Last Updated: Thursday, January 03, 2008
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