Ind. -- Bernardin Lochmueller & Associates
(BLA) recently received a
method patent for its Eco-Treatment™ constructed wetland system to treat
wastewater from animal confinement operations.
management processes by Confined Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) have come
under increasing scrutiny. Some CAFOs store manure in lagoons, until they can
dispose of it, most often by applying it to fields. Environmentalists and some
regulators are concerned about the release of raw wastes into watersheds,
especially when rain causes lagoons to overflow or manure runs off of fields
into nearby bodies of water.
2008 the EPA established zero discharge requirements but did not require
facility-specific reporting. A proposed EPA rule would require CAFOs to provide
information on waste discharges starting this July in an effort to protect
water quality. The public comment period for this new rule closes January 19.
wetlands, whether used as a stand-alone system or in combination with land
application or other treatment alternatives, offer a cost-effective solution to
assist CAFOs in meeting the zero discharge requirement. Using plants and a
variety of filter media, the system provides a natural approach to reducing or
eliminating nutrients and other chemicals from manure and wastes. The system
can even be fine-tuned to provide effluent with nutrient loads that match the
needs of specific crops.
date, BLA''s Water Resources Team, led by Mark Harrison, PE, LEED AP, has
designed more than 80 constructed wetland systems for the treatment of animal
waste, site and municipal sewage, and Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs). A number
of these have won state and national awards for innovative engineering.
recent project is saving the City of Washington, Indiana, a city of 12,000,
more than $40 million on its plan to meet federal mandates for CSO water
quality. The wetland system will also save the city $1.6 million in annual
operations and maintenance.
wetlands offer a variety of benefits," says Harrison. "Because nature
does the work, it reduces the energy used, be that energy needed to transport
manure or run a mechanical treatment system, not to mention cutting the cost of
additional chemicals to treat waste. In some instances, we''ve even
designed wetlands to provide habitat for wildlife or walking trails. It''s just
an all-around great solution!"