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European Filter System Eats Up Odor
"This approach has been used for years with great success in Denmark and Germany," says Jay Firth who, along with Brad Moeckly, designed and built a "biofilter" system to control odor at Moeckly's 350-sow farrowto-finish operation near Elkhart, Iowa.
One of more than 50 odor control research projects underway in the state, the system is basically designed to let bacteria eat up the odorous gases sucked off Moeckly's 300,000-gal. concrete-lined manure pit.
"It's basically an aerial septic system," says Firth, a retired Ankeny, Iowa, veterinarian, noting that a prototype used for two years reduced ammonia coming off Mockley's pit from a typical 35 to 40 parts per million to only 3 or 4 ppm.
The biofilter is relatively inexpensive and easy to build, he says, and it should last for years.
Here's how it works:
The pit is covered by a heavy nylon mesh cover. Gases are sucked out of the covered pit by 1/2 hp fan to a small wood building where they're sprayed with water. The water absorbs the gases and then filters through a 9-ft. layer of wood chips. Bacteria in the wood chips then "eats" the gassy components that make up the foul odors.
It takes just 3 to 5 seconds for bacteria to begin consuming the ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, phenols, mercaptans and fatty acids, Firth says.
The pit is covered by a 75-ft. dia. Permalon nylon mesh cover (Reef Indus-tries, P.O. Box 750245, Houston, Texas 77275-9955; ph 800 231-2417 or 713 507-4200).
Cost of the system was about $15,000, including $3,200 for the Permalon pit cover, he says. That's an estimated cost of 20 to 25 cents or less per finished hog, consider-ably less than pit or lagoon additives, he notes.
"In Europe, the wood chip filter lasts eight to 10 years before it's digested, so the fan will probably corrode before the wood is used up," says Firth, adding that corn stalks or hay could also be used as the filtering material.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Bio-Air L.C., 7948 NE Berwick Dr., Ankeny, Iowa 50021 (ph/fax 515 964-1495).

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1997 - Volume #21, Issue #6