New and expanding North Carolina swine production facilities face some of the strictest environmental standards in the nation. USDA Agricultural Research Service scientists and cooperators have developed a system that exceeds state benchmarks for controlling pollutants from swine farms.

Super Soil Systems USA of Clinton, North Carolina, and soil scientists from ARS worked together to develop a second-generation system that met North Carolina’s environmental standards for manure management. Significant cost reductions were achieved by innovations and on-farm testing. The revamped system was two-thirds less expensive to build and operate than the first-generation system.

The new on-farm treatment system used solid-liquid separation and nitrogen and phosphorus removal processes. It removed high levels of several pollutants from manure wastewater, including almost all of the pathogens, odor-causing constituents and ammonia. Replacing anaerobic-lagoon-based systems with the new technology also reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 97 percent.

Daily weight gain increased and feed conversion improved when the system was introduced. In addition, mortality decreased and 5.6 percent more hogs were sold per growing cycle.

Separated manure solids were converted into composted materials and used for organic plant fertilizer and soil amendments. Producers can also profit from the new system by selling greenhouse gas emission reduction credits and water quality credits.

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